Liam Hemsworth's Weird Road From The Hunger Games To The Witcher

When it was announced that "The Hunger Games" star Liam Hemsworth would be replacing Henry Cavill as Geralt of Rivia on "The Witcher," fan reactions ranged from perplexity to downright rage. Cavill has served as the leading monster slayer on the hit Netflix series' first two seasons and upcoming third, but due to what is presumably scheduling conflicts regarding Cavill's return to the DC Extended Universe as Superman, Hemsworth will be stepping into the role for season 4. In Cavill's statement regarding the replacement, he called Hemsworth "fantastic," and indicated he found him to be a worthy successor as 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," he said. "Liam, good sir, this character has such a wonderful depth to him, enjoy diving in and seeing what you can find."

Hemsworth took to Instagram to express his excitement as a longtime fan of the show, saying he's "over the moon" about the new opportunity. "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," he said. "I may have some big boots to fill, but I'm truly excited to be stepping into 'The Witcher' world." While Cavill took on the role of Geralt shortly after finishing his (first) run as Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman in "Justice League," Hemsworth's journey to The Four Kingdoms was a bit more challenging.

The early years of Liam Hemsworth

Coming from an acting family, Liam Hemsworth started his career by performing in school plays. He was fortunate enough to gain an agent while still in his teen years, which granted him access to a similar professional pathway enjoyed by his older brothers. His first roles were guest appearances on the Australian TV series "Home and Away" and "McLeod's Daughters," before gaining a recurring role on the soap opera "Neighbours." Hemsworth's brother Luke ("Westworld," "Death of Me") had his breakthrough role on the same show years before, so it made sense that Liam would follow in its footsteps.

After his stint on the popular soap, Liam Hemsworth starred in the children's television program "The Elephant Princess," where he played the series lead's love interest. Hemsworth continued appearing sporadically on television, before snagging a small role as an MIT student in the Nicolas Cage science fiction thriller, "Knowing." This would mark Hemsworth's first major Hollywood appearance, but he also appeared in the underseen British psychological horror film "Triangle" the same year.

Everything would change, however, when Hemsworth would nab the leading male role in "The Last Song," a coming-of-age teen romantic drama film from Nicholas Sparks, the novelist responsible for films like "A Walk to Remember" and "The Notebook." Not only did this put Liam Hemsworth in the teen heartthrob picture, but his Teen Choice Award-winning performance occurred alongside pop icon Miley Cyrus, who Hemsworth would later marry. "The Last Song" brought Hemsworth international attention like never before, and positioned him as one of the most highly sought-after leading men for teen films. Fortunately, this aligned perfectly with the development of what would become one of the biggest teen movie franchises of all time.

Liam Hemsworth joins The Hunger Games

Lionsgate's adaptation of Suzanne Collins' book series, "The Hunger Games," was positioned to be the next big franchise following the success of the "Harry Potter" and "Twilight" films, which meant Liam Hemsworth's casting as Gale Hawthorne solidified high-profile success for years to come. "The Hunger Games" films were a massive success, and similarly to the "Team Jacob/Team Edward" fandom fighting of "Twilight," Hemsworth and co-star Josh Hutcherson were at the center of a "Team Gale/Team Peeta" war for the heart of franchise star Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). Fans loved him and critics were impressed with the films as a whole, but the rigorous schedule of starring in one of the biggest franchises of the time didn't leave a lot of time to star in other films.

During the three-year space between "The Hunger Games" and "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay –- Part 2," Hemsworth also popped up in "The Expendables 2," "Paranoia," "Empire State," "Cut Bank," and "The Dressmaker." While mostly thrillers and other action stories, the latter was a huge hit in Australia and led in nominations at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards (like the Australian Oscars) the year of release. Sure, he didn't get the chance to join the Marvel Cinematic Universe like his brother Chris "Thor" Hemsworth, but he proved that he had what it takes to be one of the leading men in an action-packed film series.

"The Hunger Games," seemingly overnight, turned Hemsworth from an off-beat Aussie TV actor and teen heartthrob into a formidable franchise star. Alas, all good things must come to an end, and the completion of "The Hunger Games" series marked the beginning of a career slowdown for Liam Hemsworth.

Liam Hemsworth's post-Hunger Games career

Hemsworth came out of the gate swinging following "The Hunger Games" by starring in Roland Emmerich's long-awaited sequel, "Independence Day: Resurgence." Unfortunately, without the return of the film's original star, Will Smith, the film was a box-office flop and critical disappointment. Things weren't off to a great start for his first big project post-film franchise. In the midst of it all, Hemsworth and longtime partner Miley Cyrus were enduring an extremely public on-again, off-again relationship, which included the loss of their home in a wildfire in 2018. Hemsworth would appear in films like "The Duel," "Isn't It Romantic," "Killerman," and "Arkansas," as well as in an episode of "Workaholics" and joining the Quibi series, "The Most Dangerous Game." Unfortunately, without any mainstream blockbuster performances, a messy divorce in the public eye, and a brother becoming one of the biggest stars in the industry, Liam Hemsworth quickly became the center of tabloid fodder.

Now, with Hemsworth replacing Henry Cavill in "The Witcher," this might be the career resurgence that Hemsworth needs, and deserves. There's an old adage that most actors aren't "bad," they're just "miscast," and it seems like Hollywood didn't know what to do with Hemsworth outside of throwing him into characters that vaguely resemble Gale Hawthorne in "The Hunger Games." Hemsworth has proven in his independent film roles that he is a more than capable actor, and so much more than just a pretty face for action movies. It's understandable why so many fans are lamenting the loss of Cavill as Geralt of Rivia, but if Hemsworth can pull it off, his turn in "The Witcher" may very well mark one of the greatest career comebacks in history.