Talking about the Castlevania Season 3 release date may seem like putting the proverbial cart before the horse, but in this case, producer Adi Shankar has made it quite clear that he’d love to take the story of Trevor Belmont and Alucard and run off with it into the night. The beloved Konami video game series provides plenty of source material and it’s possible the anime will go all the way to Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night.
The biggest reason to believe that Castlevania Season 3, 4, and beyond could happen is that it’s the first video game adaptation to receive good reviews and a fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes. The 32-year-old Shankar grew up playing the NES classic Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse and, like other gamers, he knows what it feels like to be burned by bad video game movies.
“[The Netflix Castlevania anime] is something that was made for fans — actually made for fans, not at fans,” he explained to Rotten Tomatoes.
“The struggle for a lot of people adapting video games is they aren’t gamers. They don’t actually like the thing. A lot of dudes go, ‘What do kids like? Video games? OK, cool, get me a video game with a built-in fan base — that means they’re going to show up opening weekend to my movie.’ Nah, dude. They’re not going to show up. In fact, they’re going to go online and make fun of you for desecrating the thing they love.”
The ironic part is that Castlevania writer Warren Ellis is “not a gamer” by his own admission. “The awful truth is that I’ve never played or even seen the [Castlevania] game. Terrible, isn’t it?” Ellis told Paste Magazine. Amazingly, even Richard Armitage, who voices the main character Trevor Belmont, did not know anything about the video game series.
“I didn’t really know what the Castlevania series was and we didn’t work in the same room together, but they’d record us in different studios,” Armitage told Den Of Geek.
“We were working to no picture, so it was really just a script and they’ve animated around the voices, but I really liked it. I thought it was so much fun and a little bit anarchic. It’s brilliant and the animation is amazing.”
However, Ellis did have experience working on the 2008 survival-horror game Dead Space and his goal was to “write a medieval horror fiction while obeying the ground rules of the work being adapted.” In addition, Konami employees, especially Koji Igarashi, forced Ellis to rewrite the script five times before they were certain the Castlevania TV series experience would be authentic to the video games.
The resulting anime success caused Netflix to green light the Castlevania TV series for eight more episodes. Shankar told Business Insider that he’s “not a fan of the make it up as you go along type of storytelling” and that “there is a master plan for the show.”
“I know what the story is. I know what the beats are. I can say that it’s gonna be more expansive than [season] one,” Shankar said.
Even before the first episodes aired, Ellis was saying the first and second seasons are “really just one, split into two unequal parts.” The first four episodes were based on a script from 2007. The script for the next eight episodes is already written and Ellis admits, “[This] is where I move away from the source material somewhat, stretch my legs, and probably get a little eccentric in places.” Freed from the format limitations of normal TV channels, the second part is planned to “take more advantage of being on Netflix.”
Shankar also expressed his hopes for creating Castlevania Season 3 and beyond. The team has put together a “multi-year plan” that will be “building a much larger narrative” that leads into the full story of the Belmont’s multi-generational fight against vampires like Dracula.
“I want to do all of it. I want to keep telling stories because ultimately Castlevania is a universe, it’s a story about this family. It’s about generations of this dope [Belmont] family,” he said. “Each generation has their own problems has their own little nuances, and they’re dealing with the realities of the time period that they’re living in.”
Why The Castlevania Anime Started With Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse
Shankar recently shared his five favorite games and as you’d expect Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night is one of them. So why did the show runner not start the Castlevania anime series with the fan favorite? Before the Netflix TV series was even a possibility, Konami wanted Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse turned into a live action movie and they were talking to director Sylvan White. Shankar ended up inheriting the project in 2014 only to reject the movie version. Then a “chance encounter” started the anime project and so the third Castlevania game apparently became the foundation due to Konami’s earlier decision. Technically, they skipped the beginning of the full story, but fans would have to know the full chronology of the video game series to realize that fact.
There are actually more Castlevania video games than some fans might expect. A month after the first 1987 NES title, the Microsoft MSX computer received Vampire Killer. The 1989 Game Boy title Castlevania: The Adventure came out before the 1991 Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest and the 1990 Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse. There was even a 1988 arcade game called Haunted Castle that had vampire hunter Simon Belmont trudging through Dracula’s castle. The arcade game was apparently difficult since there was only one life and quarters were good only for three continues. (In more modern times, there’s also the 2008 Castlevania: The Arcade, which allowed gamers to use an LED-infused whip.)
And that’s just the list of games released before Koji Igarashi became involved in 1997 with Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night. The official Castlevania timeline is actually pretty convoluted since the chronological order of the games starts with Castlevania: Lament Of Innocence, a 2003 PlayStation 2 game that starred Leon Belmont.
This story was skipped by the Netflix anime, but it shows how the Belmonts became the first vampire killers in 1094. To summarize the plot, Leon loses his fiancee and renounces his pledge to the eastern church so he can take revenge. He tangles with the traitorous Mathius, who goes on to become Dracula because he wanted to have revenge on God by becoming an immortal vampire. Mathius survives that encounter and changes his name to Vlad Tepes.
From there, following the story chronologically becomes even more confusing. The events surrounding Trevor Belmont and Alucard occur in Castlevania 3: Dracula’s Curse, but that NES game came out 1990. The next major story event occurs in Castlevania: Curse of Darkness, a 2005 PlayStation 2 game. Then the story jumps back to another 1989 game released on Game Boy.
All in all, the release order of the games rarely line up consecutively in the Castlevania timeline. One thing that is predictable is that Dracula will return to life once every one hundred years based on the timeline created by Igarashi. Unfortunately, that decision came with a huge side effect.
“That was a bad decision,” Igarashi told Wired back in 2007.
“Since Dracula only appears every 100 years, we made the whole timeline and ran out of places to put in another game. I made the timeline, but I shouldn’t have actually released it, because now it’s all official.”
In order to get around this problem, the video game developers ended up rebooting the entire Castlevania series. Studio MercurySteam and Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima turned the series 3D with the Castlevania: Lords Of Shadow game and its sequel. The story had Gabriel Belmont fighting the forces of Satan only to end up becoming Lord Dracula himself.
Castlevania Season 3 Based On Castlevania: Curse Of Darkness?
Igarashi may regret creating an official Castlevania timeline but Ellis and Shankar will certainly appreciate having plenty of source material to draw upon for creating Castlevania Season 3 and beyond. The next eight episodes will likely introduce the pirate character Grant DaNasty and feature fights in Dracula’s castle with Medusa, Frankenstein’s monster, Death, doppelgangers, and the count himself, but that’s just when the story starts to get more interesting.
Castlevania: Curse Of Darkness is set three years after Castle Dracula is destroyed and although Wallachia finds relative prosperity, the land is still facing disasters like poverty and famine from Dracula’s curse. Trevor hears rumors of Dracula worshipers and during his investigation, he runs into Hector, a human servant who defected from Dracula’s army because he was disgusted by the vampire’s brutal methods.
Hector is a former Devil Forgemaster, which means he learned to use the dark arts and can forge demonic creatures. This man had been living a peaceful life but another former general of Dracula named Isaac conspired to kill Hector’s wife, Rosaly, because Isaac believed Hector’s betrayal caused Dracula’s downfall.
Seeking vengeance against Isaac, Hector marches on the remnants of Dracula’s castle to find it morphed by dark magic. Hector and Trevor eventually realize that the enemy is trying to resurrect both the castle and Dracula himself. In order to stop this plot, Hector is forced to once again embrace the dark arts that he hated.
However, it turns out that everyone is being manipulated by the grim reaper Death, Dracula’s right-hand-man. In order to avoid spoiling Castlevania Season 3 too much, this article won’t reveal what happens next, but as anyone can guess Dracula’s forces are eventually stopped… for a time.
One hundred years after Dracula was slain by Trevor Belmont, his descendant, Christopher, is the protagonist of the very first Game Boy Castlevania game. Set in 1576, this is when the legend begins: “Once every 100 years, when the faith in God is forgotten, Dracula will come back to life.”
A Netflix Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night Anime May Take Years
Castlevania Season 3 has a more modern game story to build upon but many of the earlier Castlevania games had limited character development and plot points. The next two games, The Castlevania Adventure and Castlevania 2: Belmont’s Revenge, focus on Christopher Belmont defeating Dracula only to find out 15 years later that the vampire was not destroyed. Dracula rises again, possesses the mind of Christopher’s son, Soleiyu Belmont, and raises four castles. The angry father goes on to put Dracula down for another hundred year dirt nap.
In 1691, the forces of evil once again resurrect Dracula only to have Simon Belmont kill the vampire in the 1987 NES Castlevania game. An alternate version of this story was told in Super Castlevania 4, but the overall gist remains the same. The story gets a bit more interesting in Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest because the vampire hunter is struck with a curse that’s causing his body to decay. It turns out Dracula will be revived if the curse kills Simon so the Belmont man sets out to gather the scattered body parts of Dracula and burn them. There’s a twist at the end involving Dracula’s fang but in the end, the big, bad bat is vanquished.
How many episodes or seasons will it take to cover these Castlevania story events? It really depends on how “eccentric” Warren Ellis is allowed to be. Considering the limited source material with the earlier games, it’s possible Konami will allow the writer to stretch his legs more than usual and put flesh on the bare bones characters provided by the old games. If the goal is to make a straight adaptation, then the events from all four games could probably be covered in a single season.
That still leaves a season or two before Shankar can stake his claim on Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night. A 2002 game called Castlevania: Harmony Of Dissonance features Juste Belmont battling Dracula’s essence that has risen 50 years after the vampire’s last defeat. Although it’s too early for Dracula to be back, someone else has managed to manifest Dracula’s castle. The 1993 game, Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, acts as a prequel to Symphony Of The Night since it shows how Richter Belmont was cursed after defeating Dracula in 1792.
Reaching Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night may take years but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. If Adi Shankar really wants to keep going then there’s many games, comics, and novels that are part of the official story. In the meantime, let’s just hope the Netflix anime TV series continues to do justice to the game series with the second season, never mind Castlevania Season 3.
[Featured Image by Konami/Castlevania: Curse Of Darkness]