Why is Henry Cavill leaving The Witcher?

The Witcher
(Image credit: Netflix)

Henry Cavill's final season as Geralt of Rivia is now on Netflix, with The Witcher season 3, volume 2 bringing to a close the former Superman actor's multi-year stint on The Continent.

While plenty of time has passed since the 2022 announcement that saw Liam Hemsworth announced as the new Geralt, we're still none the wiser as to why Cavill stepped back from the Netflix show. To help cut through the noise and sort fact from fiction, we've put together a guide on Henry Cavill leaving The Witcher, and everything that's been said about the surprise departure.

Let's start off with Cavill himself. "My journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures, and alas, I will be laying down my medallion and my swords for Season 4," he wrote on Instagram. "In my stead, the fantastic Mr Liam Hemsworth will be taking up the mantle of the White Wolf. As with the greatest of literary characters, I pass the torch with reverence for the time spent embodying Geralt and enthusiasm to see Liam's take on this most fascinating and nuanced of men."

While he didn't address an exact reason, some viewers also noticed that he spoke a few days prior to the announcement about decisions made in his career on the Happy Sad Confused podcast on October 27. 

"It’s just about belief. If you believe what you’re doing is the right thing then you’ll be able to keep on doing it," he told host Josh Horowitz about his work ethic (H/T Independent). "It’s also important to know that if you realise you’re doing the wrong thing, that’s when you stop doing the wrong thing. You don’t just keep going just because, because that leads down a dark path."

An image from The Witcher season 3

(Image credit: Netflix)

Elsewhere, a report from The Witcher fan website Redanian Intelligence suggested Cavill had initially been looking to leave after season 2 as he and the producers "weren’t seeing eye to eye" in terms of Geralt’s overall role in the show. 

The actor previously made it clear during the season 2 press tour that he was campaigning to make Geralt more book accurate. This may have also played a part in it, although it's not been confirmed by anyone involved.

"It’s important for me to have the character be three-dimensional," the actor told Philstar in December 2021. "And it’s tricky to do, as I was saying earlier, because there’s a certain vision and there’s a certain set storyline and plot. And so, it was about me trying to find Geralt’s place within that. All of my asks and requests were along the lines of just being faithful to the source material."

Other speculation at the time left people wondering if Cavill was leaving the show to focus more on his DC commitments. In the Black Adam post-credits scene, the actor returned as Superman, much to the surprise of many fans (well, at least those who hadn't seen Dwayne Johnson's Twitter timeline).

However, if it did play into it, we'll never know as new DC Studios head James Gunn later confirmed that Cavill would not be back as the Man of Steel. After that, it was also announced this would not impact the actor's exit from The Witcher either.

The Witcher

(Image credit: Netflix)

Cavill does have a reasonably busy plate despite this, which could also have impacted his departure too. Among his projects is the upcoming Argylle, a potential Warhammer project, and a new Guy Ritchie film.

It may be a while before we hear from Cavill on an exact reason behind the departure. He wasn't part of season 3's press trail, only appearing at two events to promote the show: TUDUM in Brazil and the premiere. While he didn't speak about his exit, Cavill was given a standing ovation from fans and co-stars in the room to mark his final season, which you can see here.

As for cast reaction, Yennefer actor Anya Chalotra played down any rumors of internal strife between Cavill and the creative team.

"When we are all on set, we’re dedicated to playing these characters and bringing them to life in the best way. And that is exactly what I felt every day from Henry," she told The Telegraph.

So we'll have to wait and see if any more comes to light about the decision. In the meantime, check out all of our The Witcher season 3 stories here:

Fay Watson
Deputy Entertainment Editor

I’m the Deputy Entertainment Editor here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.