Netflix’s “Castlevania” Gets Third Season; Adi Shankar Talks Season 2
The popular Netflix series Castlevania, fresh off its successful season season released in October, has been greenlit for a ten-episode third season.
The news broke Oct. 31, with a well-timed announcement from the official Twitter account:
Your response to season 2 truly brings a bloody tear to this ancient vampire's eye. On this All Hallows' Eve, it's my honor to officially announce season 3! Without you, this never could have happened! #Castlevania
-Vlad Dracula Ţepeş pic.twitter.com/YwXlpY75n0
— Adrian Fahrenheit Ţepeş (@Castlevania) October 31, 2018
Showrunner Adi Shankar, a self-professed “huge fan” of the Konami game series the show is based on, said adapting Castlevania for Netflix was a great experience.
“Adapting the video game for a season platform, I think we’re the first ones,” Shankar said in a phone interview. “Season 1 was all about building out a production pipeline and I think getting that machinery up and running, cause we really wanted to use that 2D hand-drawn look and style, so I think once we had that up and running, we got to really fine tune it in season 2 and now there’s a whole machine.”
Castlevania follows the story of Trevor Belmont (voiced by Richard Armitage), the last of the Belmont clan who have dedicated their lives to protecting the citizens of Wallachia from supernatural beings like Vlad Dracula Tepes (Graham McTavish of Outlander fame) and his minions, leading to the clan being excommunicated from the Church.
In addition to Armitage and McTavish, the show also features James Callis (Battlestar Galatica, Bridget Jones) as Alucard Tepes, son of Dracula; Emily Swallow (Supernatural, The Mentalist) as Lisa Tepes, wife of Dracula; Tony Amendola (Stargate SG-1, Once Upon a Time) as The Elder, the leader of a group of Speakers; Alejandra Reynoso (Winx Club) as Sypha Belnades, a Speaker and the Elder’s granddaughter; and Matt Frewer (Max Headroom, Orphan Black) as The Bishop, a clergyman who orders the burning of Lisa Tepes for witchcraft.
Season 2 welcomed new faces (and voices) with Theo James (Divergent, Underworld) as Hector, a devil forgemaster for Dracula; Adetokumboh M’Cormack (Lost, Heroes) as Issac, another devil forgemaster and Dracula loyalist; Jamie Murray (Dexter, Warehouse 13, The Originals) as Carmilla, a vampire mistress and member of Dracula’s war council; and Peter Stormare (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Prison Break) as Godbrand, a barbarian vampire warlord.
Shankar said it’s hard to pick only one cast member he was excited to get on board with the show.
”There’s so many wonderful actors that we have, so many,” Shankar stated. “Getting Richard Armitage was awesome, really really awesome. He was one of the early cast members, as well as Graham McTavish.”
Shankar said casting Callis as Alucard was pretty exciting because Callis “pulled it off.”
”In his audition tapes, he’d originally auditioned for Trevor Belmont,” Shankar revealed, “and he was totally wrong for Trevor, but listening to his audition tape, I remember going ‘Oh my god, he would kill it as Alucard,’ and he did.”
Shankar said he was very hands-on in creating the look of the show and the costumes were his favorite part of the design process.
“Especially in season 1, it was all about setting the look, the tone, the vibe, of the world,” Shankar said. “The games give you such a great blueprint of what to do and how it can be done…but the characters in the games have that fancy dress, tights, outfits, that I really had fun adapting that look and bringing that look into the Castlevania anime universe.”
Veteran comic book writer and Castlevania executive producer Warren Ellis has been a part of the project since 2007, when he was approached by Frederator Studios (My Life as a Teenage Robot, The Fairly Oddparents) to write an animated film adaptation of Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, which would also serve as the basis for the Netflix series. Ellis is the co-creator of several original comics series including Red, which was adapted into two feature films starring Bruce Willis, and is the writer of the Iron Man story arc “Extremis,” which was the basis for Marvel’s Iron Man 3, starring Robert Downey Jr.
Ellis wrote every episode of both seasons, and Shankar said it was a dream come true to work with him.
“He’s one of my heroes, as a creative, he’s one of my heroes,” Shankar said. “I really really look up to him…(having him onboard) makes things really easy because every time he hands in a script, it’s perfect. And also, you learn a lot from Warren because he’s, I would argue, one of the best writers in the world.”
Shankar said he’s learned a lot from working with Ellis over the last couple years on the show.
”The way he uses humor, I think it’s like a textbook example of how one uses humor to heighten dramatic tension,” Shankar said.
Shankar ended with thanking the fans, calling the whole experience a “dream come true.”
”The fans just really got behind the show and turned it into this juggernaut and it’s really awesome,” Shankar said. “Just thank you.”
Seasons 1 and 2 of Castlevania are now streaming on Netflix.