Okay, so Cavill isn’t the worst choice in the world. But he wasn’t one of the fancasts that people had poured over, desperate for Netflix to pick one of the top choices, the actors who already somewhat resembled Geralt. Even in the screen test they released to the public, Cavill is more Rhaegar Targaryen than Geralt of Rivia.
And yes—he’s supposed to look more elven in the books. But not quite that much. So here are the actors that were passed over for Geralt, or unavailable, but would have made fans rejoice instead of say, “um, what?”
8 MADS MIKKELSEN
Mads Mikkelsen was one of the top choices for Geralt. Around Geralt’s age, he probably could have been roughed up enough to look like the witcher. He wasn’t quite as bulky as game Geralt, but some make-up could have made him cut an intimidating presence, and he was a famous enough actor that he’d have drawn people to the series.
Some people weren’t convinced, pointing out that although Mikkelsen is a great actor, he’s not quite Geralt.
Fair and true—but he looks more like him than Cavill, so it would have been something. And he was one of the most mentioned before the casting announcement.
7 ANSON MOUNT
Hell On Wheels was a western television series that Anson Mount starred in. With his beard and his hair all greyed up, it’s pretty impossible to look at him in this show and not think he resembles Geralt.
Not being as famous as the likes of Mikkelsen, he was mentioned less in the fancasts, but every time someone pulled up a picture and said, “hey, don’t you think he’d make a great Geralt?” the response was a unified yes. He was filming something else at the same time though, so people were pretty sure it’d be impossible to get him for The Witcher. Seems they were right.
6 NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU
Another super famous name among the list of fancasts was Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. Recently starring in everything from romantic comedies to high fantasy, his most notable role is Jaime Lannister on Game Of Thrones—and since the final season is about to air, fans were hoping that might free him up for Geralt.
He’s tall, muscular, and old enough that he could definitely be greyed and scarred up to look like Geralt. Likely, no one would have been unhappy with this casting. He’s also proven himself to be a pretty diverse actor, so no doubt he would have done Geralt justice. Alas, we will never know for sure.
5 CLIVE STANDEN
Standen is most famously known for his role in Vikings as Rollo, brother of Ragnar, but he’s done a few other things of note: most recently, the action television series version of Taken. Like Mount, he was one of the lesser mentioned names but every time he did pop up, people agreed he could make a good Geralt.
He does have more of the game-Geralt look than a book-Geralt look, which is reportedly not what the television series is going for, so that may certainly be contributing to why he wasn’t mentioned too much. Still, he’d have been a pretty solid choice if the make-up and costume department could have worked their magic on him.
4 TRAVIS FIMMEL
Another Vikings star suggested for the role was the star, Travis Fimmel. He has the same vibe as Standen, even though the brothers are rivals in Vikings—rough, muscular, and charismatic enough that he could have pulled off Geralt. He’s a little young and smooth-skinned though, but that’s what make-up and collodion are for; making someone into the character.
Hopefully, they’re going to put bucket loads of that stuff on Cavill.
Not everyone loved the idea of Fimmel as Geralt though, and the suggestion ended up with pretty mixed reactions, but it’s safe to say he would have at least had the possibility of doing a good job. He wasn’t an instant write-off.
3 TOM HARDY
Like Travis Fimmel, Tom Hardy looks a tiny bit young for Geralt, but he was another one who was suggested over and over. Must be the muscles and the beard. He wouldn’t quite have been an instant solid choice that every fan would have been happy with, but it’s unlikely he would have received the same “wtf” reaction that Cavill managed to.
At the very least, he would have gotten a chance. After all, he did manage to make his way onto multiple Geralt fancast lists before the Netflix show was even announced, like most of these men.
2 VIGGO MORTENSEN
Mortensen is older than most on this list, but as Geralt is grey-haired and battle-scarred, that doesn’t really matter. Mostly, people were picturing a blend of his Lord Of The Rings look and his usual, everyday self. Mortensen has proven that he can do high fantasy better than almost anyone thanks to Aragorn, and we can only imagine that there would have been very few negative reactions to seeing him taken on Geralt.
He’s the perfect blend of handsome and rough already and although Geralt’s appearance actually isn’t described in much depth in the books, it’s assumed he has this blend too—after all, he’s seen and fought a lot, but he still manages to be popular with the women.
1 GERARD BUTLER
Finally, a questionable one, but one that was suggested many times too, so we can only assume he was another one that fans would have preferred to see as Geralt: Gerard Butler.
The Scottish actor popped up on lists also for his appearance, age, and let’s be real, the beard. He’s tall and broad, and probably could have made a pretty intimidating Geralt even without make-up and scars designed from collodion, so it’s a fair recommendation.
But there’s little point in wishful thinking about all these rough, older actors any more, because Henry Cavill ended up with the role. And who knows? Maybe he’ll be great. But the internet reactions seem pretty dubious.