The first official teaser for The Witcher Season 3 that Netflix unveiled on Tuesday previewed a two-part season that will be split over June and July — with five episodes in Volume 1 and three set for Volume 2.
But the new footage also marks the beginning of the end for Henry Cavill’s time as the show’s white-haired monster-hunter Geralt of Rivia, a controversial casting departure that will see him replaced in Season 4 with Liam Hemsworth. The sense among fans is that Cavill is leaving over dissatisfaction with the creative direction of the franchise, the audience score for which plummeted from a 90% to a 58% on Rotten Tomatoes from Season 1 to Season 2.
The Cavill-less Witcher prequel that debuted in December, The Witcher: Blood Origin, fared significantly worse, managing just a 13% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.
“As monarchs, mages and beasts of the Continent compete to capture her, Geralt takes Ciri of Cintra into hiding, determined to protect his newly reunited family against those who threaten to destroy it,” reads the official summary of Season 3 from the streaming giant.
“Entrusted with Ciri’s magical training, Yennefer leads them to the protected fortress of Aretuza, where she hopes to discover 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.”
Volume 1 of Season 3 is coming on June 29, while Volume 2 arrives on July 27.
In response to an article in which the show’s VFX producers clarify that the new season “will not follow the books closely,” social media predictably exploded. “Man, I don’t get why these writers think they can do better than the book itself,” one Redditor lamented. “If you’re gonna take a beloved IP and milk it for cash, at least follow the source material.”
Adds another: “Trash writers who think they know better than actual fans — Henry is literally the perfect casting for Geralt, wished HBO had the series instead of Netflix.”