Netflix accused of ‘tone deaf’ marketing ploy for The Witcher after ‘embarrassing’ Henry Cavill ‘reminder’

‘I can’t believe this is real, holy s***,’ one shocked viewer wrote

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 07 July 2023 06:05 BST
The Witcher trailer

Netflix has been accused of a “tone deaf” marketing tactic for The Witcher’s new season.

Season three of the fantasy adaptation of Andrzej Sapkowski’s novels, which stars Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, is currently midway through its run, with the concluding volume to be released at the end of July.

In an attempt to lure in viewers who might have been put off from streaming the show due to recent headlines, however, Netflix has adopted an eyebrow-raising marketing strategy to ensure it stays at the top of its most-watched charts.

As most fans will know by now, Cavill has left the series, and will not be playing the lead character in season four. The actor announced the news in October after he’d finished wrapping season three, with Liam Hemsworth named as his replacement. His co-star, Anya Chalotra, is still struggling to comprehend the news.

Following the release of season three on 28 June, Forbes has pointed out that billboards promoting the show have cited Cavill’s impending departure – but in a way that fans feel is suggesting Hemsworth’s version of the character will be inferior.

The line being used reads: “Yes, he’s still Geralt in Season 3”, which has also been tweeted out by the show’s official Twitter page, with the caption: “Just in case you need reminding.”

The quote leans into the discourse suggesting people might stop watching once Cavill leaves, and will undoubtedly make Hemsworth even more nervous to step into his shoes once filming begins on season four.

Netflix’s marketing strategy for ‘The Witcher’ has come under fire
Netflix’s marketing strategy for ‘The Witcher’ has come under fire (Netflix)

Fans are stepping in to defend Hemsworth, with one writing: “This just shows ZERO respect to Liam Hemsworth. Absolutely s***ting on him. Absolutely tone deaf stuff.” Another wrote: “I can’t believe this is real, holy s***. This is absolutely throwing Liam Hemsworth straight under a bus.”

One person called it “pathetic”, with another branding the decision “embarassing as hell”, adding: “All this does is tell people you have no faith in your recasting. Makes me feel bad for Liam Hemsworth. He’s in an impossible situation.”

Find more reactions to the billboards below:

The Independent has contacted Netflix for comment.

After being cast in the show, Hemsworth wrote on Instagram: “As a Witcher fan I’m over the moon about the opportunity to play Geralt of Rivia. Henry Cavill has been an incredible Geralt, and I’m honoured that he’s handing me the reins and allowing me to take up the White Wolf’s blades for the next chapter of his adventure.

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“Henry, I’ve been a fan of yours for years and was inspired by what you brought to this beloved character. I may have some big boots to fill, but I’m truly excited to be stepping into The Witcher world.”

The Witcher season three is on Netflix now.

Find a full list of every new title coming to Netflix in July here, and a breakdown of every movie and TV show being removed from the streaming service here.

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