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SYFY WIRE The Witcher

Henry Cavill spent The Witcher's hiatus playing the video games on the 'hardest difficulty possible'

Even during the pandemic, Henry Cavill was never far from The Witcher universe.

By Josh Weiss
Henry Cavill The Witcher

Even during the live-action production hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, actor Henry Cavill was never too far from The Witcher universe. Catching up with Total Film, the central star of Netflix's fantasy hit recalled how he passed the listless hours of lockdown in the spring and summer of 2020 by occupying the role of Geralt in The Witcher video games from CD Projekt Red.

"I decided to put it on the hardest difficulty possible to play, which I’ve done before, and it was really quite stressful!" Cavill said. "I forgot quite how stressful it was. These days, I’m not rich in time and so, I haven’t unfortunately had too much of a chance to have a go with the games again."

Filming for Season 2 restarted in late August of last year, but encountered a number of major setbacks, including several positive COVID cases among the crew, and a stunt that put Cavill out of commission for several weeks. Photography finally wrapped in April of this year, with Netflix ultimately passing down the greenlight for a third season.

"This season, I really wanted to make sure that we represented the book’s Geralt more accurately, and that we saw him speak more," Cavill explained of his character in the show's sophomore outing. "I pushed really, really hard for that."

Just don't expect the titular monster slayer with the flowing white locks and bulging biceps to be Mr. Cheerful all of the sudden. "I wouldn’t say cheery," the actor said. "He’s still Geralt of Rivia, but he’s definitely coming across as more of an intellectual. It’s a hard life, monster hunting... I wouldn’t recommend it."

Season 2 of The Witcher premieres on Netflix Friday, Dec. 17.

Cavill teased "plenty of surprises" during a short appearance at the streamer's virtual TUDUM event. Around the same time, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich assured fans that the new episodes would tell more of a linear story (compared to Season 1, which confused some viewers by jumping around to several different time periods at once).  "We won’t play with time as much, but still not tell completely linear stories,” she said. “For example, Ciri’s story moves back and forth in her head.”

The entire first season is now streaming along with Nightmare of the Wolf, an anime prequel centered around Geralt's mentor, Vesemir, when he was a young Witcher. A live-action prequel miniseries, The Witcher: Blood Origin, and a family-friendly spinoff (currently untitled) are also in production.