The new trailer for Season 3 of The Witcher has elicited so many mixed feelings from me, thanks in no small part to the sight of Henry Cavill — and the knowledge that the actor and super-fan of the show’s source material won’t be returning as white-haired monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia in Season 4. Cavill’s exit, so the rumors go, was a product of creative differences, but it’s not just its leading man that the show has lost. Fans have abandoned The Witcher in droves, too — at least, the ones who haven’t stuck around to hate-watch it and then go on to vent in Reddit threads.
Volume 1 of The Witcher Season 3 is set to hit the streamer on June 29, with Volume 2 arriving almost a full month later (on July 27). Part of the bittersweet feeling accompanying its arrival concerns how much of a non-event the show feels like it is now, compared to when it started. Time was, it felt like The Witcher actually stood a good chance of doing for Netflix what Game of Thrones did for HBO. And then, over time, the writing staff’s manifold liberties taken with Andrzej Sapkowski’s books began to be evident. Fans didn’t feel respected.
Which is how a show that started out with a 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes for Season 1 plummeted to 58% for Season 2, and then to 13% for that abysmal failure of a prequel series (The Witcher: Blood Origin) ahead of Season 3. The franchise has basically imploded, thanks to self-inflicted wounds.
“As monarchs, mages, and beasts of the Continent compete to capture her, Geralt takes Ciri into hiding, determined to protect his newly-reunited family against those who threaten to destroy it,” Netflix explains about the new season.
“Entrusted with Ciri’s magical training, Yennefer leads them to the protected fortress of Aretuza, where they hope to uncover more about the girl’s untapped powers; instead, they discover they’ve landed in a battlefield of political corruption, dark magic, and treachery. They must fight back, put everything on the line — or risk losing each other forever.”
Among the liberties taken with the show’s cannon for Season 3, meanwhile, is the fact that the womanizing Jaskier will be confirmed to be bisexual — with a rumored male partner who in the books is younger than Ciri but who’s been aged up for the Netflix show to make the writers’ preferred plot point work.
All in all, it’s hard to disagree with one particular YouTube comment left on the trailer above, focusing on the way Yennefer at one point asks Geralt “Are you sure about this?” To which Geralt replies, wearily, “Are you?” A pretty accurate representation, all things considered, of how fans are feeling going into The Witcher Season 3 knowing that Liam Hemsworth is taking over the title role for what will be at least two more infuriating (and Cavill-less) seasons.