The Witcher: will the Netflix series go into the wall without Henry Cavill?
After the disaster of The Witcher: Legacy of Blood spin-off and the departure of Henry Cavill, is there still a future for The Witcher? Witcher on Netflix?
2022 will have been the year of all dangers for The Witcher. Without even moving a finger, the series took two massive blows.Firstly: the departure of Henry Cavill, who officially left to rethread Superman's cape (with the success that we know), against a backdrop of rumors (unconfirmed, therefore to be taken with a grain of salt) of a bad understanding with the showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich. The choice of Liam Hemsworth to take over the role of Geralt of Rivia did not particularly appease or excite the crowds.
And secondly, the explosion at the start of the spin-off series The Witcher: Legacy of Blood, a magnificent and dazzling four-hour nanar that became the lowest-rated Netflix original content on Rotten Tomatoes in a few hours (33% for the press, 12% for the public).
While season 3 is already in the box and should be released in 2023, the question of the future of the series arises more than ever. The Witcher on Netflix: stop or still?
A LITTLE PIECE FOR THE WITCHER?
Before even talking about everything that surrounds it, let's stop for a moment on the main subject: the series itself, and its reception. The least we can say is that it's already a mess. On Rotten Tomatoes, season 1 gets a mediocre 68% from critics and a solid 90% from audiences, while season 2 does the exact opposite with a very nice 95% from the public. press and an ugly 59% from the public (with an element of review bombing from fans of the novels, according to Forbes).
Nobody seems to agree, but we see a little more clearly on Metacritic, a finer aggregator than Rotten Tomatoes, where the series as a whole receives 62% from the press and 67% from the public.
Summary of all this: whatever Widescreen thinks of the series (a rather promising season 1 of The Witcher and a frankly failed season 2),the quality of The Witcher is lukewarmly recognized, even polarized.
Behind the fine viewing scores that Netflix praises hides a less rosy reality, even before starting to enter into the debate of opinion. But let's take the opportunity to go there with both feet: despite the power of the universe invented by Andrzej Sapkowski and the aura of Henry Cavill, The Witcher is a wobbly series launched to become the Game of Thronesfrom Netflix. Except that the writing isn't there at all and the production is sorely lacking in creative ambition or epic scale.
I NEED A (SUPER)HERO
New nail in what looks less and less like a canvas and more and more like a coffin: the departure of Henry Cavill, cast as Geralt of Rivia after being propelled by the role of Suprman and the mustache of Mission: Impossible – Fallout. But we only grasp the extent of the problem if we understand the place occupied by the actor in the collective imagination.
Known to the general public , ex-Superman, divine handsome boy, but also huge nerd and gamer extremely popular with his peers, Henry Cavill brought with him much more than star power inThe Witcher: he wasl ideal intermediary between the geek niche and the sacrosanct mainstream.And to top it all off, his performance was very well received. Even by us, that is to say.
Netflix has therefore lost its headliner, but also its trump card. Of course, the impact of a known casting is largely to be put into perspective in 2023 (Dwayne Johnson and his Black Adam can tell you about it). But in the case of The Witcher and for a role as identified as that of Geralt of Rivia, the loss is considerable.
The task is thus announces almost impossible for the replacement Liam Hemsworth, actor with a much inferior build on paper and on screen (Hunger Games, Independence Day: Resurgence: who says worse?). Even if his interpretation turns out to be good (which is not at all unrealistic, don't make us say what we haven't said), he will have all the trouble in the world to magnetize the public like Henry Cavill.
very heavy HUMBLE BUNDLE
The era no longer escapes the extension of universes, and a world as abundant as that of The Witchermust of course know many variations in the manner of the sacred cash cow of the genre: the MCU. Except that for the moment, it's going more like the DCU (ex-DCEU), in any case, at least on the artistic side, since the viewing figures are unknown – SVoD obliges.
With only two derivative products, Netflix has indeed already succeeded in the feat of (perhaps) shooting down its golden egg hen. We'll quickly move on to < strong>The Witcher: The Nightmare of the Wolf, a technically flawed and hastily made animated film, but more forgettable than detestable. The real poissard has another name: The Witcher: Legacy of Blood.
Then again, before we even throw our boogers (again) at this new definition of nullity in mithril jock-strap armor, we'll stick to the reception of this spin-off mini-series. And it's a massacre from which we recover with great difficulty even taking into account the review bombing: 35% press side and 12% public side on Rotten Tomatoes. This is simply the worst score for a Netflix original series. On Metacritic, it's both worse and better: 45% from the press and 10% from the public, including an avalanche of 0. In 2023, the frigate The Witcher looks less like the Medusa than on her raft.
It's the bomb
So everything seems to be against The Witcher, but we will be told that there is an immutable law in Hollywood: there is no reason to stop if the hearings follow. And it is true, to the point of being an almost unassailable argument of authority; and of course, it's all about the quasi.
There is indeed an extremely important weighting element: reputation. And that of The Witcher could end up rubbing off on Netflix. With The Witcher: Legacy of Blood, this is the second time that the series and its extended universe have obviously suffered from review bombing, and even if this practice is more painful than anything else trolling, it is also a sign that something is wrong with it. the fanbase.
The problem is that this time it has nothing to see with the two-round moral panics on wokism like for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. This is mainly linked to the multiple infidelities of the series with the spirit of the books, and to the general quality of The Witcher.Of course, this is an adaptation and sacrifices are necessary, but many choices are not passed on to the community.
We will not to mention them all, but we can stop for a moment on the Eskel case, which traumatized many people and left people deeply in doubt as to the understanding of the source material (or even of the games) by the showrunner team Lauren S. Hissrich.
A recurring character of the utmost importance, practically a big brother to Geralt, Eskel is calm, measured and affable (for a witcher). In the series, he is portrayed as a particularly obnoxious and cynical womanizer, before being murdered like a rookie in 15 minutes of cumulative screen time. An example impossible to catch up with, and especially emblematic among many other equally incorrigible ones, and whose accumulation is beginning to seriously alienate part of the public.Not sure that Netflix has an interest in continuing to widen the gap with its stubborn subscribers.
THE WITCHRÖDINGER: DEAD OR ALIVE?
Speaking of Netflix's general policy, given the recent signals sent by the platform, it's not impossible that The Witcher is already undead, and comfortably strapped to an ejection seat.For months, the big N has multiplied cancellations without any qualms and cut programs with a machete. This week again saw the abrupt end of 1899 a month after its broadcast, despite positive reviews and a cliffhanger ending to season 1.
It is therefore on a minefield and with lead boots that the season advances 3 of The Witcher, knowing that Lauren S. Hissrich did not hide that the departure of Henry Cavill had been a surprise, and that his grand finale had not at all been thought of as such.
The next season probably has no choice but to make a remarkable ratings hit. And again, it Only if Netflix producers are still considering a future for Geralt version Liam Hemsworth and his pals. In all honesty, if our life depended on it, and barring a contractual obligation of which the world is not aware, we would rather bet on the opposite.