"Henry has given so much to the show and so we want to honor that appropriately," says showrunner Lauren Hissrich.

The Witcher season 3 wasn't written as a sendoff for actor Henry Cavill, who's been starring on the Netflix fantasy drama as supernaturally enhanced monster hunter Geralt of Rivia since its inception. But now that Cavill is officially stepping down from the role, which will be filled by Liam Hemsworth in season 4, series creator and showrunner Lauren Hissrich says season 3 feels like "the most heroic sendoff" for their lead they could muster.

"Henry has given so much to the show and so we want to honor that appropriately," Hissrich tells EW. She points to Time of Contempt, the fourth book in author Andrzej Sapkowski's Witcher series that the writers' room partly adapted for the season 3 story.

"What is so interesting is that season 3, to me, is the closest thing that we've done as a one-to-one adaptation of the books," she says. "Obviously, we can't do every page, but Time of Contempt gave us so many big action events, plot points, defining character moments, huge reveals of a big bad. There's so much to do that we were able to stick really, really closely with the books."

The Witcher Season 2
Henry Cavill appears as Geralt of Rivia in 'The Witcher' season 2.
| Credit: Susie Allnutt/Netflix

The writer-producer continues, "Geralt's big turn is about giving up neutrality and doing anything that he has to do to get to Ciri. And to me, it's the most heroic sendoff that we could have, even though it wasn't written to be that. Geralt has a new mission in mind when we come back to him in season 4. He's a slightly different Geralt than we expected. Now, by the way, that's an understatement."

Cavill announced his departure from The Witcher in late October, coinciding with news that the actor would reprise his turn as Superman in the DC superhero movies after Man of Steel and Justice League. Cavill already filmed season 3, so the change takes effect in season 4.

"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," he said at the time. "Liam, good sir, this character has such a wonderful depth to him, enjoy diving in and seeing what you can find."

Since then, Cavill had a meeting with James Gunn and Peter Safran, the two new heads of DC Films at Warner Bros. From that meeting the actor learned he would not be coming back as Superman after all. Instead, Gunn is developing a film about a younger Superman, but mentioned that he spoke with Cavill about what other parts he could take in this cinematic universe.

Sources confirmed to EW that the Superman developments would not impact Netflix's recasting plans for The Witcher season 4.

The Witcher
Henry Cavill appears on the set of 'The Witcher' season 3 with costars Anya Chalotra and Freya Allan.
| Credit: Netflix

Asked if there's a role, either on screen or behind the scenes, that could keep Cavill in the Witcher-verse moving forward, Hissrich says, "We haven't even thought about that at this point."

"We have plans to keep this going in various permutations," Hissrich notes of the still-expanding Witcher cinematic universe, which includes event prequel series The Witcher: Blood Origin, anime film Nightmare of the Wolf, and additional animated projects. "I love the mothership, I'm going to stick to it, but obviously we have Blood Origin coming out. I hope that this doesn't end for a while. So I think the possibilities are endless, and we'll see what happens."

Hemsworth, meanwhile, expressed his excitement to be taking on the Geralt role.

"As a Witcher fan, I'm over the moon about the opportunity to play Geralt of Rivia," he said in an October statement. "Henry Cavill has been an incredible Geralt, and I'm honored that he's handing me the reins and allowing me to take up the White Wolf's blades for the next chapter of his adventure. Henry, I've been a fan of yours for years and was inspired by what you brought to this beloved character. I may have some big boots to fill, but I'm truly excited to be stepping into the Witcher world."

Cavill has already set up his next TV project: an adaptation of Warhammer 40k at Amazon.

Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.

Related content:

The Witcher
  • TV Show
  • 1