Thanks to a highly successful series of video games, The Witcher has entered the mainstream, which means millions of fans worldwide were paying attention when it came time to cast Netflix's upcoming adaptation. One of the first roles cast was that of the main character, the Witcher Geralt of Rivia. For years fans had been listing the actors they thought would fit the role. Henry Cavill, star of the upcoming series, wasn't on any of those lists.
Showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich explained to Entertainment Weekly how that decision was made.
"Henry is a huge fan of this property," said Hissrich. "He’s read all of the books. He’s played all the games. I met him at the very beginning of the process." Hissrich said the actor actually approached them very early on. "He said, 'I would love to play this character.' I said, 'Henry, you’re amazing, but we haven’t even started thinking about casting yet.'"
Hissrich then went on to audition other actors, but eventually returned to Cavill. "I met 207 other possible Geralts," said Hissrich. "And I came back to Henry at the end."
Thankfully, the actor was still available. It was clear that he'd made an impression.
"The first time I met him I hadn’t even started writing the scripts yet. And once I started writing I couldn’t get Henry’s voice out of my head for the character," said Hissrich, adding: "Looking at the final product, it’s really exciting. He embodies Geralt in a way that I don’t think anybody else could."
There has been some amount of backlash surrounding this casting choice, along with almost all others. Some fans believe Geralt to be too aesthetically delicate in comparison to the video game depiction and certain interpretations of Andrzej Sapkowski's novel descriptions. However, Hissrich is clearly confident that the role is in good hands.
The Witcher stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, Anya Chalotra as Yennefer of Vengerberg, Freya Allan as Ciri and Joey Batey as Jaskier. The series will be available to stream this fall.