'Castlevania' Producer Kevin Kolde On The Future Of The Franchise On Netflix And Injecting Hope Into Darkness [Interview]

Set in the demon-populated dark fantasy medieval Wallachia, the anime-influenced Castlevania series on Netflix follows a cast of both the villainous and the virtuous...or rather, those on the spectrum of virtuous. Setting a high bar for what makes a successful video game adaptation, this Frederator Studios-produced adult animated series takes its plot and character blueprints from the Konami video game franchise, with art work inspired by Ayami Kojima's designs in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.

With its copious amounts of gore, flesh-ripping, and gut-spilling, Castlevania is a far from sunny. The fourth and final season begins in a dark and dour place, where the main characters are worse off than ever before, but it ultimately makes a climb to hope as the series reaches its conclusion.

/Film spoke with Castlevania producer Kevin Kolde, whose credits also include the kid-friendly likes of Adventure Time and Bee and PuppyCat, about the fourth and final season. We talk about some plot details, so here's your spoiler warning.

What is it like waiting for season renewal announcements?

It's always painful. It's different now with social media. You know how your show is being received before Twitter and things like that. You just had to wait for the ratings to come in and so often times you get a lot of immediate feedback. But social media at least gives you an indication of how people are responding and how many people are watching. It's not as torturous as it used to be, but it's definitely a good and bad feeling. You're excited and then you're terrified.

The final season was very much planned. Can you tell me anything about producing for the final season and how long was this the planned ending?

It was basically the plan from the beginning. When we started season three, the idea was to wrap the story in season four. We knew before we started season three that we had a plan if we were lucky enough to be given a season four. We already knew how things would play out in the fourth season. Obviously we were nervous when season three came out and we didn't know if we were going to get to do the fourth season. We always built it to end the way it did.

For a very depressing show, the finale is a happy ending. Could you talk about the decision to end on a hopeful note?

There's been a lot of dark elements that the characters have dealt with for four seasons. For the characters that are still around at the end of the fourth season, they have been through a lot and now they're at a point where it's a beginning. It's a new beginning for them, not so much an ending. The stories are just beginning and they had to earn it. It's the first time that we actually feel during the run of the series that they are no longer in the jeopardy of Dracula's influence and the attempts to bring him back from the dead which allows the characters to have a happy ending, however long it will last. I don't know. It's a dark world, but I think they earned it.

It has been reported Netflix is eyeing a show set in the same universe. Are you allowed to talk about it?

I'll just say that there are discussions about a new Castlevania series since [the video game franchise] is a rich universe of characters over many many years. We're excited to explore those other characters and time periods. We'll have more to say that in the future. That's really all I can say.

Will you likely be involved in new stories if they come?

Yes, yes, absolutely.

Some of the animation is sent internationally to be finished. Can you tell me about that process?

It's not unlike a lot of projects. We work with Tiger Animation in Korea to do the bulk of the animation. A lot of the key things, depending on the episode, are held back and done internally at Powerhouse and are done with some freelance animators.

What was it like working with the directors, Sam and Adam Deats, from Powerhouse Animation Studios?

They're horrible people. I'm kidding. They're great to work with and both are very nice, very dedicated. They are huge, huge Castlevania fans, played all the games. They've done an amazing job over four seasons on the show with themselves and the team they put together. Sam does a lot of design and storyboarding and Adam is more involved in animatic editing and visual effects.

That final showdown with Death is a standout sequence. Was that animated by a particular house outside?

The majority of that was managed through our house internally. In the fight with Death, they had animators in house and freelance animators.

What do you think was your favorite sequence this season?

It's really, really hard to pick one. The episode that is freshest in my mind is the sequence with the Rebus and Trevor defeating it. It was pretty spectacular. Carmilla's fight with Isaac was pretty amazing.

What character arc was your favorite this season?

That's a tough one. Isaac. I think I like Isaac's arc the best.

It's my favorite too.

It's unexpected but he is my favorite. He changes. Most characters came from a place of darkness. At the end of the show, he's one of the most hopeful and optimistic actors. He's changed his outlook on life. It's been great to follow him as he falls in and gains agency in the world.


All four seasons of Castlevania are currently streaming on Netflix.