The Witcher launched in 2019 as Netflix's first big fantasy epic, with former Superman Henry Cavill headlining as Geralt of Rivia. That said, Cavill as Geralt is almost unrecognizable from his Man of Steel days other than the muscles thanks to his makeup, his costume (which he took home), and definitely his wig. Geralt is known as the "White Wolf" for his hair in the Witcher books that inspired the Netflix series, but it turns out that nailing the white wig to complete the look took a while. Months!
Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich shared the process of getting Henry Cavill's Geralt of Rivia wig right and why it was important for him to really be the White Wolf on The Witcher series:
We tried several versions of a full white wig (and you can still see scenes of it in Ep 101, before the reshoots). It glowed on-screen, looking almost grandma blue under the lights. It was an abomination, and laughable. We added more dirt (that’s why it looks more grey) and some lowlights, and it took us months to get it to a place where we were happy with it. It’s definitely more silver now, but we didn’t want to give up calling him the White Wolf — which makes more sense as a nickname when we meet future Witchers, and see that none of their hair was impacted by the Trials.
Geralt may be able to pull off totally white hair on the pages of Andrzej Sapkowski's books, but bringing a white wig to the small screen is apparently complicated! Lauren Schmidt Hissrich and Co. did find a way to keep the White Wolf's wig fundamentally white by adding grime on top of it, which really makes sense for how Geralt lives. Monster-hunting isn't the cleanest business, even when Selkie Maw guts aren't involved! And, as Hissrich noted, it's important for the future of the series that Geralt remain the White Wolf.
As book readers know, the white hair is not a distinctive feature to all witchers, and Geralt is quite unique among them. Putting "months" of work into a wig might have been excessive if the white hair was just in service of a character's look in a book series for no reason but aesthetics. Since the hair color is relevant to the story, all that work is bound to pay off. As Lauren Schmidt Hissrich stated on Reddit, it will all make more sense down the line.
For his part, Henry Cavill was extremely dedicated to his transformation into Geralt, even if he wasn't one of those spending months on wig duty. He almost blinded himself by refusing to take out the colored contacts that gave him Geralt's distinctive gaze, and he made himself "miserable" with a dehydration diet to look ripped shirtless. He even put a lot of thought into the accent he'd use for Geralt.
Fortunately for Henry Cavill, who was already a Witcher fan before landing the role, the show has already been renewed for Season 2, and filming may not be too far off. Mark Hamill has thrown his hat into the casting ring to potentially play a certain character from the books, so viewers can always hope to see him step away from Luke Skywalker and into another high-profile role.
For now, you can catch all eight episodes of The Witcher Season 1 streaming on Netflix. While it will be a while before Season 2 is ready for the small screen, you can find plenty of other upcoming streaming options on our 2020 Netflix premiere schedule.