Why Castlevania's First Season Was Only Four Episodes Long
Sam Stone
With the release of its fourth season, the Netflix original animated series Castlevania has come to an epic conclusion, wrapping up the adventures of Trevor Belmont as they defend Transylvania. And while the latter seasons ran for ten episodes each, the inaugural season was considerably briefer, running for only four episodes.
Series executive producer Kevin Kolde revealed one of the major reasons behind the truncated episode order for the animated series was the project's origins. An animated adaptation of the 1989 video game Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse was originally intended as a trilogy of direct-to-video feature films executive produced by Kolde and written by series creator Warren Ellis. Beginning pre-preproduction in 2007, the project shifted to become an animated television series at Netflix years later, with the first two seasons completing the planned story for the trilogy. Despite this shift, the feature film-pacing is apparent with the smaller episode count.
"The first season is really built and based upon the original script, which was intended to be a direct-to-video movie back in the mid-2000s; there's a bit of that. I think a lot of it is just that everyone saw this as a risk," Kolde tells CBR with a laugh. "At the time, Netflix was just sort of getting into original shows at a time when original animation wasn't commonplace and I think it was a risk."
Castlevania predated other more mature animated series on Netflix, including Blood of Zeus and Love Death + Robots, leading to a little more caution in commissioning a larger episode order. And while Netflix executives were always supportive of Castlevania, including developing plans for a future for the animated franchise, the smaller episode order would test the waters with audiences to see exactly how receptive they were to the adaptation.
"[Executive producers] Larry Tanz and Ted Biaselli and [Netflix Vice President of Anime Content] John Derderian, they're supporting the show but they just didn't know so they were like 'Do four episodes and we'll see what happens'" Kolde continues. "I think it was just an abundance of caution."
Castlevania stars Richard Armitage as Trevor Belmont, Alejandra Reynoso as Sypha Belnades, James Callis as Alucard, Theo James as Hector, Adetokumboh M'Cormack as Isaac, Jaime Murray as Carmilla, Jessica Brown Findlay as Lenore, Bill Nighy as St. Germain, Jason Isaacs as The Judge and Rila Fukushima as Sumi. The entire series is available now on Netflix.