Warning: SPOILERS for Castlevania season 4.
The long-awaited final season of Castlevania brings the story of Trevor Belmont, Sypha Benaldes, and Alucard together for an epic showdown inside Dracula’s Castle, and it’s a sendoff executive producer Kevin Kolde is proud of. Castlevania was originally envisioned as a two-season series, but it was continued through season 4 and now there are talks of another installment.
Castlevania may not have any spinoffs in the works, but a new series set in the same universe is being discussed at Netflix, though the project isn’t far enough in development to be officially announced. For now, fans have Castlevania season 4 to tide them over, and it’s an epic one – a season that culminates in a video game-esque battle between Trevor Belmont and Death.
Screen Rant spoke with Kolde ahead of the final season’s debut to discuss the ending, the series as a whole, as well as what he hopes to work on next.
I’d like to kick off with the ending. Dracula lives, which is something that comes back over and over again in the games. Can you talk about how he and Lisa survived?
So, Lisa and Dracula are pulled out of Hell by Saint Germain using death magic, and they are put into the body of this Rebis where they’ll be trapped, and Death hopes that they’ll be very unhappy and kill lots of people. Lots of souls to eat. Trevor destroys the Rebis using holy water, so their souls are dispatched from the Rebis. That’s essentially how they get back from Hell to the real world. And they go [back into their own bodies]. It’s death magic.
Another thing about the ending is that you finally brought in Death – the character Death. Was that always the plan to have him come in and be a sort of architect behind Dracula’s revival? And how much did fans play in the decision to introduce Death at all?
Creatively, we’ve looked at the series in sort of two parts – season 1 and season 2 – which, you know, was the goal of telling the Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse story. And then when the series was going to continue… how to continue the series for another two seasons? Bringing in Death as the final architect in trying to bring Dracula back just made the most sense. We do listen to fans, but we don’t always listen to fans because they always tell us to bring Grant [Danasty] in. We haven’t done that.
On Grant, there’s a village in season 4 called Danesti – similar to Danasty – and there’s the character Greta, who plays an integral role in the season, almost fulfilling Grant’s role. Was all that a subtle reference to Grant?
It may be that Grant, in the game, was named after that region of Wallachia, Romania. It’s a real place. It was not our intention to do a Grant reference. We’re just referencing a location in a country.
I can certainly see fans discussing that, but it’s good to know that it’s more of a happy accident, if anything.
Yeah, the Grant fans are always my favorite! They don’t give up – for four seasons, they have not given up. They’re like “Where’s Grant?” every time there’s a new image. “It’s Grant! It’s Grant in the background!”
You brought up Dracula’s Curse. Overall, Castlevania the series is mainly an adaptation of Dracula’s Curse. What was the reasoning behind sticking to that one story versus having the anime be more like an amalgamation of various games?
First of all, we’re dealing with multiple time periods and timelines, and different Belmonts or Morrisses, and to try to bring them all into one particular story would be a disservice to all of them. We picked Dracula’s Curse as the game for us to adapt early on because we just felt that, from a story standpoint, it had elements that we could work with and build from. So it’s always sort of been our goal to focus on that.
Fortunately, we introduced characters we were able to build beyond the basics of that story out into season 3 and season 4. It just felt like making that self-contained and looking at other Belmonts or other stories and time periods in the Castlevania timeline, or Castlevania universes, as other standalone elements.
In the end, they named the village around the castle Belmont. Up until Alucard says that, I figured you’d go with the name Castlevania, based on Dracula’s castle. Was that ever in consideration?
No, we never thought about naming the village Castlevania. I think, you know, I’m not sure the castle is going to stay there. It’s broken, but at some point, it will probably move. Maybe not.
When the Castlevania series premiered, it was 2017, and Netflix didn’t do a lot of anime back then. Now it’s a big trend on the platform. Considering Castlevania had such an impact on video games in the ’80s and ’90s, and now the series is having an impact on anime on Netflix, was that something you were ever conscious of, especially in the later seasons?
We certainly were aware of the impact the series has had in terms of the way that streamers, networks, whatever look at animation and work in animation. I think that’s great. For me, as an animation producer, as an animation fan, as someone who not only enjoys comedy but also enjoys dark fantasy and comic books and video games, sort of expanding the marketplace as you will, having more shows like Castlevania is a good thing. So I’m glad it did well and I’m glad people are responding to it. I’m hopeful it’s just going to lead to new, exciting, and innovative shows for adults that aren’t just situation comedies.
Now that Castlevania has ended, what would you want to work on – whether it’s another video game adaptation or something else?
I’ll never get to work on it! My favorite video game of all time is Silent Hill 2. I know, right? I’d love to see a series or a movie, or anything sort of built around that game. It’s always been my favorite. I mean, there’s a lot of great stuff; Metroid. Everyone always talks about Zelda. You could go on and on with great games, great stories, and great characters. For me, in my animation aspirations, I don’t have a great desire to be the person who makes animated video game adaptations. I’m always looking for interesting stories and interesting characters, whether it’s stuff for kids, stuff for adults; whether it’s dark fantasy or comedy. It’s good to be able to work on a variety of things.
Is that what drew you most to Castlevania, as a story worthy of an adaptation?
You know, I love the games; the lore is great. As like you say, it’s in my personal wheelhouse in terms of things I like. It’s got horror elements, it’s got fantasy, it’s got action; it’s got things that appeal to me. I think as a producer, you’re always looking to be involved in things that appeal to you. If you don’t have a passion for them, if you don’t understand them, it gets harder to have a meaningful impact on them. But absolutely, it’s absolutely one of the reasons why Castlevania was something that was interesting to me.
One thing about Castlevania is that it can appeal to a broad audience given its vampiric elements. Were you conscious of trying to cater to general fans in addition to video game fans when making the series?
We never tried to make the show just for Castlevania video game fans. Our goal was always to make an animated dark fantasy series that would appeal to fans of dark fantasy. Hopefully not just fans of animation; hopefully, to fans of that genre of storytelling. We didn’t want to certainly not bring the Castlevania game fans along, but the goal was always to reach a much broader audience than just people who played the games, and to make the show accessible to them so you wouldn’t have had to play a Castlevania game to watch the show or enjoy the show.
What I like to do at the end of interviews is essentially give an open floor, if there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to discuss about the series but was just never asked the right question.
For me, I’m thrilled and proud of everyone who’s worked so hard to bring the Castlevania series to life and excited that it’s been so well received passionately by the fans. I’m just really looking forward to them being able to experience season 4 and experience the end of the storyline. I hope – I think they’re really going to like it.
Next: Netflix: Every Movie & TV Show Releasing In May 2021
The Nevers: Why Mary Was Always Meant to Die