‘The Witcher’ Is Just Like ‘James Bond,’ Says Producer

in Movies, Television

Henry Cavill as Witcher on the left and Daniel Craig as James Bond on the right

Credit: Inside the Magic

Henry Cavill is soon to depart yet another huge media franchise, as the upcoming third season of Netflix’s The Witcher will be the last to feature the former Superman actor as Geralt of Rivia. Despite fan outcry, the British actor will soon be replaced in the role by Liam Hemsworth in the fourth season. However, a producer on the show says that is not a big deal, because The Witcher is just like James Bond.

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More specifically, Witcher executive producer Steve Gaub says it is actually pretty normal for the lead/title character of a franchise to be replaced and that multiple series have done it without a problem. “I think, holistically, Henry gave us an incredible three seasons of Geralt,” said Gaub (per Radio Times). “but there’s been so many franchises that have had really strong title characters and eventually, for whatever reason, personal decision or, or just the length of time frame, the title character changes actors.”

Henry Cavill as Geralt in The Witcher
Credit: Netflix

Gaub goes on to say that “We love everything that Henry gave us as a Geralt and now we’re really excited about what Liam can give us as a Geralt, much like there’s been different James Bonds, different Doctor Whos, different Spider-Mans.” While we’re not sure whether the plural should be Spider-Mans or Spider-Men, he does have a bit of a point.

There Are Major Differences Between ‘The Witcher’ and ‘James Bond’

However, Gaub is not addressing a couple of key elements that make Liam Hemsworth replacing Henry Cavill a bit different from Daniel Craig taking over for Pierce Brosnan, the transition from Tobey Maguire to Andrew Garfield to Tom Holland, and the grand procession of different Time Lords over the decades.

(left to right) Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland, Tobey Maguire variants of Peter Parker/Spider-Man edited with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse background marvel
Credit: Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures

For one thing, this is the first time that a lead actor playing The Witcher has been replaced; while some franchises have successfully done it before, producers should take the case of Alden Ehrenreich attempting to fill in for Harrison Ford as Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story as a warning lesson.

Related: Hugh Jackman Almost Starred as James Bond

For another, Netflix is basically asking us to trust them to swap out one actor for another and presumably not change the story or tone. When Daniel Craig replaced Pierce Brosnan (who replaced Timothy Dalton, who came after Roger Moore, who was cast post-George Lazenby, who had the unenviable task of taking over from Sean Connery), there was decades of established protocol for a new James Bond. The Witcher does not have any internal precedent for what it’s doing, so fans might bite, and they might just bite the hand that feeds them.

Fans Crave Explanations for Star Replacements

It is also worth mentioning that the cinematic tradition that allows for James Bond actors to be replaced (Henry Cavill was once a prime candidate for the role, notably) is constantly controversial, with fans arguing about everything from hair color to national origin in potential stars. Fans also have developed any number of theories as to why the appearance and age of 007 keep changing, which indicates some underlying need for explanation.

Daniel Craig as James Bond
Credit: MGM/Universal

Similarly, while the role of Spider-Man has been passed from actor to actor, Marvel Studios has actually gone out of its way to textually explain why this is the case, hence the all-star lineup of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Similarly, the Doctor Who franchise built in a canonical explanation for the regeneration of Time Lords long ago, so as to periodically recast.

In other words, no, The Witcher is not just like James Bond, but that doesn’t mean Liam Hemsworth is doomed from the start. Maybe fans will accept him, perhaps they won’t. But considering that producers seem to already looking ahead to making Geralt of Rivia a role that can be swapped around, maybe Hemsworth shouldn’t get too comfortable.


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