Video game adaptations are bad. Everybody knows this. Occasionally though, one comes along that actually bucks that trend and ends up great. What is the greatest of all among these? That’s a tough choice, but it’s to deny that Castlevania not being part of that conversation.
When the streaming service originally dropped the first season of their adaptation of the classic Konami vampire-slaying platformer franchise, everybody had one complaint: Where’s the rest?! With just four episodes, it was painfully short given how utterly incredible the animated adventures of Simon Belmont and his not-so-merry band of compatriots were as they tried to save the region of Wallachia from a Dracula out for revenge. Luckily, season two gave us eight episodes which expanded the story massively, adding a whole host of new characters and taking a massive twist with the death of… well, that would be telling. Just know that it was damn good.
So when do we get to continue that goodness? Well, the gods have been kind to us as season 3 of Castlevania is less than month away! Netflix’s NX account made the announcement, revealing the 10-episode season will premiere on 5 March alongside a new poster.
So what is the secret of Castlevania avoiding the video game adaptation curse and being as good as it is? Well, there are a number of reasons, but Warren Ellis, the acclaimed comic book veteran (and one of my favourite writers ever) who writes and exec produces the show, has taken a very unique approach to making it. As he explained to BleedingCool late last year, “I have never played any of the games, never even looked at them.”
I wrote this entire show using Wikipedia and fanpages so I wasn’t really aware of any of that. When I was originally contacted, some 10 years ago, Kevin Kolde, our Executive Producer, pointed me at a specific part of the game’s sequence that he thought would make a good film (Note: This is the game Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse). In absence of a better idea I dug in there and started pulling things out and pulling stuff out from other games and making some stuff up to fill it out.
It’s hard to think in terms of a mythos or canon when you’re talking about 8-bit sprites jumping around under one sentence. It’s not like there’s a lot of textual material there to dig at. I did what I could. I mostly went to the things it put me in mind of rather than the thing itself. Once I did enough reading I realized how similar it was to the Hammer Horror movies that I grew up with. Many of which were set in Eastern Europe and many of which featured vampires. At some point I realized I was just doing my own Hammer Horror film.
Well, keep… hammering away then Ellis, because this is definitely working! 5 March needs to hurry up and get here already!
Last Updated: February 7, 2020