A vampire messiah has emerged in France. It’s time for the Belmont bloodline to rise again. Netflix and Powerhouse Animation Studios are back again with an all-new Castlevania television series! A spin-off of the 2017 series, Castlevania: Nocturne brings forth a new vampire hunter: Richter Belmont. What can we expect? Well, grab your morning star and holy water because we’re diving into this bloody series before its release on September 28th.
NOTE: Spoilers for Castlevania (2017) and potential story spoilers for Castlevania: Nocturne.
What is Castlevania?
Castlevania, originally, was a video game series created by Konami. The Metal Gear and Silent Hill company developed and published the first entry for the Famicom system on September 26th, 1986. The side-scrolling game focuses on vampire hunter Simon Belmont as he fights through Dracula’s Castle. Using your arsenal of tools, as well as your magic whip, you’ll take out dozens of vile monsters. Castlevania was massively successful upon launch and spawned numerous games, each usually sporting a new Belmont or vampire slayer as the protagonist. The franchise is one of Konami’s most acclaimed IPs, with many regarding it as one of gaming’s best. Unfortunately, Castlevania has not had a new entry since 2014. Its last release, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 launched to mixed reactions.
An animated film version of Castlevania was greenlit by Frederator Studios in 2005 from a pitch by Kevin Kolde. Fiction writer Warren Ellis created a script in 2007. The project would enter development hell (when productions have trouble progressing, usually during early stages) for a while. In 2013, Netflix picked up the project and brought along Powerhouse Animation Studios to bring the project to life.
The show, which adapted Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse, took inspiration from longtime artist Ayami Kojima and Japanese animation. The dark action-adventure series followed vampire hunter Trevor Belmont, magician Sypha Belnades, and Dracula’s son Alucard as they take down Dracula and his regime. The four-episode first season of Castlevania released in July 2017 to medium praise, with much of it directed towards its writing and cast, specifically Richard Armitage’s Trevor and Graham McTavish’s Dracula. The Game of Nerds rated it a four out of five in our review, citing strong fights and personality, but ending too soon. The series received four seasons, with reviews becoming more and more positive. In 2022, it was revealed that the show would receive a spin-off series, which would later be known as Castlevania: Nocturne.
Castlevania: Nocturne takes place during the French Revolution in 1792. A vampire hierarchy has emerged among the citizens of France. From that, they, led by a rumored ‘Vampire Messiah’, plan to bring about an eclipse, blanketing the world in eternal darkness. Richter Belmont, a vampire hunter, is plagued with fear from a young age, as he witnessed the death of his mother at the hands of a vampire, who pledged to kill him in the future. Hearing these rumors, he joins forces with ex-slave and sorceress Annette, magical nun Tera, opera singer and hunter Eduoard, and young magician and revolutionary Maria Renard. Together, they must confront demons, both literal and metaphorical, and stop the Vampire Messiah once and for all.
The show will adapt Castlevania: Rondo of Blood, as well as Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. Both of the titles are regarded as the best in the series. It also takes hints from Castlevania: Bloodlines, which introduced the show’s villain, Erzsebet Báthory. Her character is based on antagonist Elizabeth Bartley and the alleged real-life Hungarian serial killer Elizabeth Báthory.
Who is Richter Belmont and What is Castlevania: Rondo of Blood?
Richter Belmont is one of Castlevania‘s many protagonists over the years. Specifically, he is the lead in 1993’s Castlevania: Rondo of Blood. In the game, he battles through Dracula’s castle to rescue his girlfriend Annette. He also rescues four maidens, with one being the playable character Maria Renard. His appearance has seen changes, but his signature blue outfit and long white headband remain, alongside the famous Belmont crest. Wielding the iconic Vampire Killer whip, Richter is the direct descendant of Simon Belmont, the protagonist of the first Castlevania. Maria’s origins are unknown, as she’s referred to as being related to Richter, Annette, or a village lord. In Rondo of Blood, Richter is 19 and Maria is 12, so it’s unclear if the show will age them up or keep it the same.
For many, Richter is a very familiar name, due to his inclusion as an Echo Fighter for Simon Belmont in the world-renowned 2019 fighting game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. He does appear in another mainline game, though in a different role. In 1997’s Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which takes place five years after Rondo of Blood. The game follows Alucard, up from his years-long sleep, as he searches for Richter after his disappearance. It’s later revealed that he plays the role of the antagonist, brainwashed by Shaft (the villain of Rondo of Blood) in order to resurrect Dracula. After he is freed, he becomes a playable character. If the show gets another season, there’s a chance Richter might not be the same person we know now.
Connections to Castlevania (2017)
The show is a spin-off of Castlevania (2017), so it isn’t a direct sequel, per se. The original show takes place in 1475, making Nocturne‘s story 317 years after it. While we may see Trevor and Sypha in flashbacks or references, don’t expect them to make a return. However, there are two exceptions to that: Dracula and Alucard. As both are vampires, they, realistically, can still be alive. Alucard, as previously mentioned, is the main protagonist of Symphony of the Night, so we might reunite with our favorite vampire soon. In terms of Dracula, it’s certain that his presence, physical or not, will be felt throughout the series. At the end of Castlevania, we see him, resurrected with his wife Lisa, residing in London in a small cottage. And, if Symphony of the Night gets fully adapted, Dracula won’t be staying home for long.
As previously mentioned, Netflix, Project 51 Productions, and Powerhouse Animation Studios are involved. Directing Castlevania: Nocturne are brothers Sam and Adam Deats, who also directed episodes of the original series. BAFTA winner Clive Bradley will take over writing duties this time around. Original producer Kevin Kolde will return for the spin-off series. It’s unclear when production started, but it’s rumored to have begun during the last season of Castlevania. Many of the original team members are expected to return.
Castlevania (2017) had a pretty stacked cast, with Oscar nominees and fan favorites in the mix. This time, Castlevania: Nocturne continues that tradition, albeit with some new faces. Starting off, we have Edward Bluemel as the headband-wearing vampire hunter Richter Belmont. Bluemel, an English actor, is most known for his roles as Marcus in A Discovery of Witches, as well as Hugo in Killing Eve. Revolutionary Maria Renard will be played by Mary Poppins Returns‘ Pixie Davies. Joining them are The Woman King‘s Thuso Mbedu as Annette, Golden Globe winner Nastassja Kinski as Tera, and Hamilton actor Sydney James Harcourt as Edouard. For the vampires, we have The Bourne Identity‘s Franka Potente as the vampire messiah Erzsebet Báthory and Reservation Dogs‘ Zahn McClarnon as Olrox, the killer of Richter’s mother. Rounding out the cast are Sophie Skelton, Richard Dormer, Benjamin Plessala, and Aaron Neil.
When Will Castlevania: Nocturne Release?
The show will be released on September 28th, 2023 with eight episodes. However, Netflix recently announced that the first three episodes of Castlevania: Nocturne will be live-streamed a day early as part of their DROP 01 event. This 90-minute animation-centric event will showcase titles such as Scott Pilgrim Takes Off, Sonic Prime, and Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Adventure, just to name a few. Plus, there are surprises in store, with Legendary Studios (King Kong) and Crystal Dynamics (Tomb Raider) being teased for appearances. DROP 01 is scheduled to happen on September 27th at 12 pm EST on YouTube and Twitch.
As of now, the show’s slated to have one season, though a second could be greenlit if the show does well.
That’s all for Castlevania: Nocturne! Do you plan on watching the show? Did you watch the original? Play any of the games? Who is your favorite Belmont? Let me know in the comments! If you enjoyed this preview, feel free to leave a like and share it with your friends. Until next time, vampire slayers!