After three successful seasons, the sun is rising on the popular animated adaptation of the video game series Castlevania. ANN's Jacki Jing spoke with executive producer Kevin Kolde about the final season and how the production team avoided slipping up in its last moments.
Talk to me about the challenge of wrapping up a series like this. We all know the Game of Thrones finale debacle. When you were planning out this final season, what were your strategies and goals?
Umm. Wow. I think that we planned it—I can't say for sure. We sort of knew when we started Season 3 that we wanted to wrap in Season 4. The goal was to finish the current story with the characters in the 4th season. In that regard, we were able to plot it out and avoid what happened with Game of Thrones (laughs). I don't know! There were elements in Season 4, that even we didn't know, until the scripts came in at the very end, like what was going to happen. We had a good idea of which way it might go, but I think ultimately, from my standpoint, fans are going to be pretty happy with how things wrapped. We wrapped things up pretty well, so hopefully I'm not wrong.
Warren Ellis reportedly finished the scripts for Season 4, were those used?
Can you talk about how much was used? Did you just take parts?
Warren Ellis wrote all of the Season 4 scripts.
SPOILER TERRITORY BELOW
Everyone loves Castlevania for the Easter Eggs, can you tell us what are some of your favorite Easter Eggs from Season 4 that we may have missed? Music? Weapons? Creatures? Trevor has that amazing four bladed weapon...
I am not the best person to be the Easter Egg Breaker Downer, unfortunately. A lot of the Easter Eggs that come from this series come from the animation team. We give them the freedom to explore where and when to use those things. Some are scripted like Trevor's four bladed cross, others are not. And there's probably ones in there that even I am not even aware of! You look at the library in the Belmont Hold, the shelves are filled with elements and weapons and books and spells from the game! They give us a list [of the Easter Eggs] afterwards!
How would explain the ending of Castlevania, breaking down the last two episodes?
Episode 9 is a culmination of elements that were introduced in Season 3 and storylines that were expanded on in Season 4. So episode 9 really gives us the final climactic action beats for Trevor and Sypha and Alucard and Saint Germain, Dracula and Lisa.
Episode 9 is called “The Endings” and episode 10 is “It's Been a Strange Ride”—episode 10 could have also been called “The Beginnings” because we end a lot of the characters stories, but we end them with new starts. At the end of the 4th season, there are characters that are still with us, seemingly finally, out from under the shadow of Dracula, whether Dracula or the threat of Dracula coming back, the immediate issues have been dealt with. For the first time a lot of them are looking at a life that would be vastly different than what they've experienced in the previous episodes. In a way, it's not an ending. It's a beginning.
The Infinite Corridor is kind of confusing. How did Trevor survive?
(laughs) The magic of animation. So there's a moment in the climactic, big fight where you see Saint Germain touch the key that he used to open the portal into the Infinite Corridor, right as Trevor is kind of winding up his final blow against Death. So Saint Germain is able to open the corridor one last time and Trevor is transported into the Infinite Corridor and then found his way out, per his explanation in Episode 10, on the banks of the Danube.
So, basically, it was Saint Germain's last act in his dying moment?
Correct. We try not to draw too much attention to it, but you see his finger fall and touch the key just as Trevor is going in for the kill.
With Lisa and Dracula? Why didn't they want to see Alucard?
I think in their minds he's been through enough. He's had a rough go of it and he needs time to find himself and process— he's been under the shadow of them and what's happened to them or what he's done to them for quite some time and they just want to give him the ability to live his own life.
Can you break down how resurrecting Dracula worked? How Death was involved and what was the Rebis? All the mechanics A-Z?
(laughs) I think the simple explanation is that Saint Germain used death magic to open the Infinite Corridor, reached into Hell and grabbed Dracula and Lisa's spirits out and put them into the Rebis, where they would have been trapped had the plan worked. Trevor was able to destroy the Rebis with Holy Water and Alucard. So basically, he destroyed the Rebis and Dracula and Lisa's spirits were freed at that point and we're now back in the real world.
So, Death was hiding in Dracula's court and orchestrating this plan the whole time or just wanted to make sure Dracula was alive so he could feast essentially?
Death wanted Dracula alive and wanted angry, crazy Dracula so he would create more death and destruction for Death to feed upon.
The Council of Sisters...rough go for them in Season 4. Carmilla had to go down with the ship—but Lenore. Suicide. That was heavy.
None of us at Castlevania took Lenore's decision lightly, certainly at at time now when depression and suicide are very serious issues many are facing in the world. We know this might be triggering for some of our fans. It's really emotional. It's tough when Lenore didn't want to live the life that she had. Right? It wasn't just the fact that she didn't want to be a prisoner to Isaac or what have you. Her world view had changed. I don't think she thought immortality was all that great any more and made a choice to not live forever. It's tough and emotional, but I kind of get it. But [I] respect the decision that Lenore made.
Lenore had one of the darker endings, but as you said earlier, a lot of them had a happier ending. In the past, Castlevania has been gory, ruthless and brutal, but oftentimes we saw forgiveness and peace being themes in this last season. Why did you all decide to go this route?
They go hand in hand in some ways, right? The pain that you feel along your journey has been meaningful. Ultimately, we are trying for happy endings and sometimes we get them, sometimes we don't. Some of our characters had them and some of them didn't. Specifically, Lenore, it's really sad, but Lenore made a choice and you have to respect the choice that she made. She made it from a clear head. If you read the internet, there's a whole faction of people that want Lenore to die horribly—I don't know—it's one of my favorite moments in Episode 10, the whole interaction between Hector and Lenore. It's super bittersweet, I think people will draw from it what they will, but she felt like it was her time and she didn't want to live in the circumstances she was presented with.