Pondering Castlevania - Coming to Netflix this year
Back in February Netflix announced it was dropping an animated Castlevania series later this year. It is being led by Adi Shankar who came to fame with his dark take on the Power Rangers a few years ago and produced films like The Grey with Liam Neeson.and cult favorite Dredd. Popular comic writer Warren Ellis (Transmetropolitan, Red, The Authority) wrote at least the finale of the first season so the creative team has at least one heavyweight punching the clock. The team has floated that the series is influenced not only by the game (primarily Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse) but Game of Thrones and said it would be ultra-violent. The first season is said to be 4 half hour installments so it may not be that different than a movie in length although the show was commissioned for 2 seasons so a second one will drop in Q4 of 2018. There has been little by way of news updates since Feb, and given the hard R approach I would assume this drops around Halloween so I bet we hear more in July/August. As of this writing no voice cast has been announced but we did get a poster.
It is popular to bemoan the history of video game movies and while most game fans have at least one they like (personally I like the first Resident Evil and I felt Silent Hill was faithful but like the game a torture), it is typically expected that adaptations from our world will be terrible. Perhaps a serialized approach changes the equation though. Games tend to have drawn out pacing and seldom can be summarized into a 2 hour experience without dramatic cuts in character development, story, or faithfulness to the source. Castlevania also plays in a very conventional field of vampire lore inspired by Bram Stoker's Dracula so they can use some shorthand and rely on our cultural understanding of vampires to simplify the world building requirements and get to the meat of the story or right into the action at launch. Like a battered partner I may be naively believing that "this time it will be better" but I am optimistic based on the format, the producers involved including Netflix, and the source material which can be more easily adapted into another medium than most games. Let's hope a badass whip wielding Belmont kicks the door in and starts a wave of serialized video game adaptations worthy of their birthing franchises..