Cavill's Superman-Haters Made The Case For Geralt Already
A significant portion of anti-Cavill sentiment is fueled by dislike for his portrayal of Superman. To those voices, the reflex is to claim his casting as Geralt of Rivia is merely an opportunity for him to "ruin" another dearly beloved, fiercely defended franchise and hero. After all, Cavill's version of the Man of Steel was criticized as being too pensive, too grim, too bleak, too brooding, and just too sparse with actual dialogue to come close to a hero people would rally behind.
It would be strange to see those critics now voice skepticism towards his version of Geralt... since every one of those critiques describes the magic-using monster hunter. Geralt is dark, has a veritable black belt in brooding, and lives a life of one tragic battle after another. And even if he saves the day, his time spent crossing the shadowy lines between the real world and the magical make him a pariah - not a hero to be admired.
We're not being facetious in the face of those who felt, for whatever good or suspect reasons, that Henry Cavill was a poor fit for Superman (or Snyder's vision for which Cavill was cast). But even if the actor in question hasn't changed, the demands of the role have. Based on the box office returns and audience scores of his Superman films, Cavill was worth lining up to see for a wide audience. For many, he failed to convey a bright, hopeful hero - instead only mastering a broken, gloomy, solemn one.
Through that lens, being cast as Geralt of Rivia makes perfect sense. Fans who love him will help spread the word... while his critics may finally see him in a role he was always far more suited to occupy.
Netflix's Geralt Will Be Different (And That's a Good Thing)
Finally, the biggest reason why outraged Witcher fans may want to take a deep breath before starting any petitions is that the role of Geralt isn't one exactly hidden behind a long line of dramatic hurdles or character nuance. That's not a criticism of the character, but a reminder that the video game version of Geralt will be similar to the Netflix series. So no matter how strong or interesting Geralt's history, relationships, or personality may be in previous media, the live action version will be making some changes no matter who ended up in the role.
The biggest challenge is the same for any adaptation: how to make the hero compelling when players have connected to them, more often than not, by assuming their perspective, their identity, their decisions, and their voices themselves. Picking one's way through fifteen minutes of video game conversation trees, for instance, asking questions based on a personal idea of "who Geralt really is" is rewarding. Watching the same scene play out without interiority or agency... not a chance.
The fan-favorite leading men pitched in message boards most often - Mads Mikkelsen, Travis Fimmel, Zach McGowan - are all famed for roles as brooding, steady, and menacing as Geralt, making them valid selections. But Geralt will need to pull more dramatic weight in a TV series than a game, or a novel, and the character must be given new depths. For the reasons we have hopefully explained above, Henry Cavill has shown the potential to do just that.
Make Geralt more than a face, a voice, or a stare. Make him an antihero... while still keeping faithful to the heart of the character, of course.