Netflix’s Witcher Series Screwed the Pooch

Season one of the Witcher show was far from a masterpiece. Even still, it was a solid bit of fantasy television. It adapted the first book in the series, ‘The Last Wish’, while bringing plenty of new stuff to the table. In the end, it was a decent enough show that I enjoyed quite a bit.

As much as I enjoyed it, however, I never got around to season two. And with the recent news that’s come out, I probably never will.

You’re probably aware of the news I’m talking about. Henry Cavill, the lead of the series as Geralt of Rivia, will be replaced come season four. This, of course, is a huge bummer: Henry Cavill was the perfect fit for Geralt, masterfully capturing the character’s gruff exterior, cynicism, and heart of gold. Losing him is a massive blow to the show.

But that’s not the most worrying bit. As perfect as he was as the character, it’s still too early to say whether or not his replacement won’t do a good job. Besides, it’s not like he was the only good actor in the show; most of the rest of the cast could hold their own in any given scene. The problem isn’t just that the actor left. It’s why he left.

Henry Cavill is a massive nerd. He hasn’t made that a secret; that’s a big part of why people love him. Among his many geeky obsessions is the Witcher series. From the CD Projekt Red’s games to the original novels, he loves this series. That’s the primary reason why his performance as Geralt was so good; he genuinely loves the character and wanted to give it 200%.

Problem is: the show’s writers apparently didn’t share his love for the franchise. According to a few sources, they actively disliked the source material and mocking it. Henry Cavill allegedly butted heads with them multiple times over the course of the series production, fighting to keep the show as true to the source material as possible.

Alas, it seems that fight was a losing battle.

That issue points to some major potential problems in the series going forward. When adapting a series of fantasy novels, it’s important to at least be somewhat faithful to the books. If not in the events or the characters, then in the tone or the message.

Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy succeeded because it managed to find the balance between respecting Tolkien’s original works and making the story work in a cinematic format. Conversely, this is why Game of Thrones ultimately failed; once D&D ran out of books, they went off to do their own thing, only loosely following the plan set out by George R. R. Martin. The end result was what many people consider to be one of the worst seasons of television in history.

Is it a fact that the Witcher is doomed? Not an objective one, no. Maybe the writers will surprise us and at least do a good job. Maybe Cavill’s replacement will do a decent enough job as Geralt. Even if it does go down the can, I’m sure someone somewhere will enjoy it. For god’s sake, there are people out there willing to defend season eight of Game of Thrones!

There are also people who eat Tide pods or think the Earth is flat or vote for anti-vaxxers. But that’s beside the point.

Personally, I don’t think I’ll see the show through to the end. I’ll get around to season two once season three comes around. But once Cavill is gone, so am I. The signs are pointing to doom, and I just can’t ignore them.

But who knows? Maybe that petition to replace the writers and get Cavill back will actually go through. Probably not, but you never know! The internet convinced studio executives to fix the live-action Sonic design. Who knows what else is possible?

Probably not this, though. Still, it’s nice to imagine.

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