It's official. After expressing interest in the role just a month ago, it has been confirmed that Henry Cavill is playing the lead role, Geralt of Rivia, in Netflix's upcoming adaptation of The Witcher.
But while Cavill is clearly excited, fans seem to be divided. Some have faith in Cavill's talents and passion as an actor while others have expressed doubts, to put it mildly. Those Witcher fans cite what they perceive to be stiffness in many of Cavill's film roles which they feel make him less than ideal for Geralt. We feel differently; Cavill is, in fact, perfect for the role, for a multitude of reasons we'll be exploring right here.
Before we look at why Cavill is qualified, let's take a moment to explore the character he'll be playing. Who is Geralt of Rivia?
Simply put, Geralt is a witcher, a highly trained, genetically-altered monster hunter. He's exceptional at what he does but he never chose that life. He was forced to become a witcher at a very young age after being abandoned at the gates of Kaer Morhen, a witcher school to the north of the Continent. Like all witchers, Geralt was trained to hunt and fight monsters, he underwent several mutations through the Trial of the Grasses and learned how to cast a variety of magical "signs." Because he proved to be the most gifted, Geralt was chosen to undergo further mutations which caused his skin to lose pigmentation and his hair to turn white which is why, over the years, he came to be known as the White Wolf, or "Gwynbleidd" in Elder Speech.
Although the video games are generally quite faithful to Andrzej Sapkowski's short stories and novels, they actually offer a different version of Geralt than book fans might be familiar with, which makes sense for two reasons, the first being that the video games take place after the events of the novels and because, in general, video games are a very different medium of storytelling and don't always allow for the same depth of character exploration as full-length novels and short stories.
The games' portrayal of Geralt is often decided by the player, who can make choices that Geralt, as depicted in the books, wouldn't necessarily make. The novels depict Geralt as being slightly more emotional, occasionally even deeply melancholic, though it's rare for him to reveal that to anyone around him. He's also physically different in the books, which describe Geralt as being muscular, but lean and ugly. The games, for reasons that should be obvious, depict a very different witcher. He's bulkier and he's scarred, but he's a good looking guy -- something the dialogue makes it a point to clarify.
A quick glance would lead any fan to assume that Cavill would be playing a Geralt akin to CD Projekt Red's video game series. Cavill does play the superhumanly strong Superman after all, and is nowhere close to being the sinewy man with an ugly smile Sapkowski described in his novels. While Hissrich has stated that the show would remain as faithful to the novels as possible, she has -- in the past -- expressed her desire to appease both fans of the video games and fans of the books by taking the best of both worlds in regards to the story's cynical protagonist.