Netflix fantasy series The Witcher returns for its third season on the streamer next month, which will notably mark the final run to feature Henry Cavill in the lead role as Geralt of Rivia.

Fans were shocked when it was announced last year that the Man of Steel actor would be stepping down from the show to be replaced by Liam Hemsworth, with no precise reason having yet been given for his departure.

In fact, some viewers even wondered if it might have been better to end the series rather than recasting the role, but showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich has now revealed why this was never going to be the case.

"It was time for him in his life to move on," Hissrich told Total Film when asked about Cavill's exit. "I think we’ve all been mourning this in our own way."

And she added: "I mean, we had the choice to have Geralt exit and to end the show. [But] that’s not something that we were willing to do. There’s just too many stories left to tell.

"If we replaced Geralt with another Witcher, we would be going fully away from the books, and I don’t think that’s what anyone wanted either."

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Cavill previously said in a statement: "My journey as Geralt of Rivia has been filled with both monsters and adventures, and alas, I will be laying down my medallion and my swords for Season 4."

He added: "In my stead, the fantastic Mr Liam Hemsworth will be taking up the mantle of the White Wolf. As with the greatest of literary characters, I pass the torch with reverence for the time spent embodying Geralt and enthusiasm to see Liam's take on this most fascinating and nuanced of men.

"Liam, good sir, this character has such a wonderful depth to him, enjoy diving in and seeing what you can find."

The Witcher season 3 volume 1 will land on Netflix on 29th June. You can sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

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