Netflix‘s The Witcher has had its fair share of criticism over the years for its drastic divergence from Andrzej Sapkowski‘s beloved series of novels. While the criticisms have ranged from warranted to unfair as Season 2 diverged even further than the first, fans hoped that Season 3 might correct the series’ course a bit. This is especially true since this is Witcher superfan Henry Cavill‘s final season as Geralt of Rivia.
Only the first five episodes of Season 3 have debuted, but they haven’t managed to capture my interest. Cavill still excels as Geralt and I have no real issues with any of the performances. Freya Allen, Joey Batey, and Anya Chalotra are all excellent performers who are doing what they can with the material here — it’s just unfortunate that the material isn’t as strong as it could be.
While The Witcher Season 3 is a step in the right direction from Season 2, it’s not quite enough. Season 2 rewrote the character of Yennefer while making major changes to the core story — like the death of Eskel — which led to the entire series’ narrative feeling off. Changes to source material aren’t inherently bad. In fact, I’d go so far as saying that divergences, when interesting enough, can serve as a complementary take on the source material.
Though Season 3 seems to try to right the ship, it may be too late. While promising ideas emerge here and there, a lot of the season thus far has been more bland than anything. The episode of Geralt and Yennefer at Aretuza’s ball was the most intriguing and offered up some fun moments, but most of the episodes blurred together for me. The Witcher books and games captivated from beginning to end, but the world of the Netflix series just doesn’t grab in the same way.
Credit: Susie Allnutt
In regards to Cavill leaving after Season 3, I can’t imagine it will be a positive change for the series. The lead star seemed to be the one universally beloved part of the Netflix show, with both fans of the show and fans of the novels and games feeling that he was the perfect choice for the role. Though Liam Hemsworth has stated that he’s reading the books to prepare for the role, I’m not certain that will be enough, as the series has already gone on for three seasons with a fairly altered world from the books.
So while I’m glad The Witcher Season 3 seems to be taking steps towards addressing the issues series fans had involving story liberties, it could already be too late. I truly hope that the show finds some form of footing and appeases everybody who’s kept up with it, but I think that even if they continue to address fan complaints, it may be too little, too late.