The Witcher Saga May Be Ending Sooner Than We Thought

Can one of Netflix’s biggest franchises find its way without its leading man?

Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher

Say what you will of The Witcher, but Netflix’s epic fantasy franchise refuses to fall. Even after a couple of lackluster seasons, plus a spinoff that failed to make a real impression, The Witcher is soldiering on... but not before cutting some dead weight.

Netflix had plans for another live-action spinoff series to bloom from The Witcher’s third season. It was set to follow the teen misfits known as The Rats, whom Ciri (Freya Allen) meets at the end of Season 3. The spinoff — appropriately named The Rats — was a prequel series, tracing the group's history before their Witcher appearance. But according to Redanian Intelligence, Netflix has scrapped the series after reviewing early footage. The streamer will reportedly repurpose the material for The Witcher’s upcoming season, so we may still see their story as a flashback.

Meanwhile, Season 4 of The Witcher already has its work cut out for it. It will be the first to reckon with the departure of its leading man, Henry Cavill, who played Geralt of Rivia for three seasons before leaving the show (despite expressing interest in a seven-season run) for reasons unknown. The Hunger Games’ Liam Hemsworth will take up his quest, but his tenure as Geralt has an expiration date.

The Witcher will continue without Henry Cavill, but not for much longer.


In theory, The Witcher has enough source material to continue for years. The series is adapting the six novels written by Andrzej Sapkowski, and each season has focused on one book. With Seasons 4 and 5, however, Netflix is changing its production model. The next two seasons will be shot back-to-back, but they’ll also be the last, collectively covering the final three novels in Sapkowski’s series.

Whether Netflix’s fantasy adaptation will continue after Season 5 remains a mystery. The Witcher is truncating what ought to be an epic conclusion, perhaps because it doesn’t feel right to go on without Cavill. There’s much less pressure to perform (or to justify the series’ existence without its biggest star) if the show is already on its way out. There’s a sense the creative team behind The Witcher, led by showrunner Lauren S. Hissrich, just wants to finish what they started. Netflix is giving them that chance, but could the door still be open for more stories down the line?

Though the franchise’s live-action future is uncertain, Netflix is still invested in a few animated spinoffs. After 2021’s Nightmare of the Wolf comes a new animated film, Sirens of the Deep, which will adapt one of Sapkowski’s short stories. The fate of the Witcher saga could lie in animation, but time (and, more importantly, interest) will ultimately decide.

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