ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese spoke with Castlevania: Nocturne co-showrunner Kevin Kolde and directors Sam & Adam Deats about the Netflix anime adaptation. The trio discussed the differences between Trevor and Richter Belmont as well as the show‘s unique time period. The series is now available to stream on Netflix.
“The gory and gothic adventures of the Castlevania franchise continue with an exciting new setting and their highest stakes yet,” reads the series‘ logline.
Kevin, I really enjoyed the Abbott and Maria storyline, and there’s an interesting discussion to be had between them about evil and the of shades of gray. What did you like most about that subplot in Castlevania: Nocturne?
Kevin Kolde: It’s probably one of my favorite subplots in the series. I think the Abbott is a great character, and a gray and complex character. The relationship that he has with Maria and Tera just adds so much color to the story and so much complexity to all of their journeys through Season 1. Families are tough, you know? And in, our first season, this is really a family that we get to see. I really enjoyed it. I think the writers did a fantastic job with the heart of those characters.
Adam Deats: If you don’t mind me slipping in for a moment, one of the things I really have enjoyed about the Abbott and everything is that when we we look at the French Revolution from our perspective, several hundred years in the future, we see how things landed in place as they should have or needed to. But going back and during the story, within the context of how people were actually reacting to things and how folks were being manipulated and were obviously frightened.
With the church, priests were being guillotined and everything else. There’s an interesting perspective for the folks that were actually dealing with it directly at the time and how muddy it can be when you’re dealing with it face-to-face rather than in history books many years later. So I think that that’s been a fascinating thing with the Abbot’s character in particular, and how he’s reacting and doing what he must to survive and what he genuinely thinks is right, but it’s obviously so messy. [Laughs].
Sam, I’m a big fan of Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance, so getting to see Richter’s grandfather, Juste, come into Castlevania: Nocturne was such a cool surprise — especially to see this elderly version of him as a nihilist. What did you like most about getting to play with that version of the character?
Sam Deats: One of my favorite parts of the series, honestly, is Richter having to come face-to-face with a possible future for himself is obviously a hallowing experience for him and is a big part of his character growth. It’s also a really heart-wrenching thing to see, as well. To see how things play out with them and how his character is even influenced by Richter. We see a bit of that at the end of the sixth episode, and it’s a highlight of the season for me, even when going back and watching it.
As a fan, when the video games were being made, they’re hopping between different time periods and different Belmonts, back and forth all over the place. This was our chance to actually harmonize some of the things that were developed later with Harmony of Dissonance. To actually pull some of the things that came in the later games and then incorporate them into a storyline that came earlier was a really full thing to do as a fan.
Kevin Kolde: Early on, before we had recorded Iain Glen, Sam did all the temp dialogue for Juste. So somewhere on my computer, actually, we have that for our listening pleasure. [Laughs].
Adam, Juste’s moment really leads directly to Richter getting his magic, and he dons the headband late. It’s a great moment that signifies him becoming a true Belmont and being the man he needs to be. Can you speak to that character moment?
Adam Deats: Yeah, Juste is kind of a mirror for Richter because it’s where Richter may end up if he loses himself and becomes defeated. Circumstances lead him finally to getting his mojo back. Sam, even early on, as the primary storyboard artist for that sequence, had a vision for it. So early on, after talking with me and Clive about it, once he got rolling, he even said and knew that he wanted to add “Bloodlines” — the main act one Rondo of Blood track — to play during that bit, and also to use that as an opportunity to show something that we didn’t really get to see that much in a lot of Castlevanias, which is that Juste is the first Belmont that can use magic, right?
Based on Castlevania timelines and such in the games. Richter doesn’t really do that in the games, but it would make sense that he would take that on, right? So in Nocturne, we were able to put that into the character a bit, and I think that was really, really fun as a symbol of the fact that he’s grown into this — on top of the headband. The headband was a bit of debate. We didn’t know if we were going to do it, but it ended up being another symbol of the fact that he’s coming back into himself, but also that he does actually care about growing up a bit and the fight that he has ahead of him.
Sam Deats: One of the things with Richter’s ability to use magic that we really wanted to make sure we incorporated as we were developing his fighting style was to make sure that even though he’s using magic, it still feels like how Richter from the games would incorporate it into his fighting style. It isn’t necessarily, “Oh, now he’s Sypha with a whip.” It’s Richter with his own unique take on how he fights using his bow.
With the ending of the season, I thought, “This is going to be a bit of a downer, but it’s setting up a great second season.” I get where it’s going, but then Alucard comes in at the end, which was such a hype moment. Can you discuss that great tease for the second season?
Kevin Kolde: Yeah, I mean, it was built in as we laid out what the first season was going to be. It was always there. To see it come together in practice with the great work that Sam did on the storyboard and James Callis doing his Alucard voice. It got better every iteration. So we’re excited and thrilled for people to experience it. It gave us chills, so hopefully it does the same for everybody else. [Laugh].
Sam, we’ve talked a bit about the end of Castlevania: Nocturne’s first season. How much was planned out internally? Have you thought about how many seasons you would like to see the story told over?
Sam Deats: That’s going to depend on how people react to what we’ve made and how well it does an the powers that be. [Laughs].
Adam, I really wanted to ask about Edouard and his transformation and yearning for freedom. Can you speak to that character and what he goes through in Castlevania: Nocturne?
Adam Deats: It’s hard to say a lot without digging into like the most obvious bullet points, but I’ll say that what I really love most about his character is that he’s somebody who represented a certain level of freedom and positivity to Annette when they first met. Then he, unfortunately, kind of loses himself and ends up being the one that she has to face, right? I think that that’s the most interesting part of the story — their relationship as a whole, but also as someone who’s a light in someone’s life and that person that has to come and find him.
The path of him finding himself when he’s in this totally new, different distorted form is really interesting. I think there are also some elements that speak back to Castlevania Season 3 and some of the conversations that Isaac has with his night creatures. I think there is some overlap there, in my opinion.