Castlevania Spinoff Lawsuit & Potential Future Problems Explained

Netflix’s Castlevania spinoff has been submerged in controversy after a recent lawsuit was filed by original series showrunner Adi Shankar, throwing the franchise's future into question. Shankar helmed the acclaimed animated video game adaptation through its four-season run, but he wasn’t announced as being involved in the planned spinoff. The producer has since filed suit against the show’s studio, alleging that he was pushed out by unfair means.

The Castlevania controversy started in 2020 when dozens of women came forward with accusations of manipulation and sexual coercion against series creator Warren Ellis, who was subsequently removed from the show. Work on Castlevania season 4 had already been completed, but it was announced that Ellis would not be affiliated with any further work tied to the franchise. That exclusion extended to the spinoff series announced by Netflix in 2021, which will be set during the French Revolution and focus on the characters of Richter Belmont and Maria Renard.

Related: Why Isaac Is Castlevania's Most Interesting Character

In addition to Ellis’ absence, it was revealed after the initial announcement that Shankar would not return to work on the Castlevania spinoff, something the producer is now protesting in court. In the breach of contract litigation, Shankar accuses producer Kevin Kolde and his studio Project 51 of using the split with Ellis as an opportunity to also remove him from the spinoff series, which Shankar says he was never consulted on. Shankar alleged that Kolde ousted him unfairly in the interest of enhancing his own personal profit from the Castlevania franchise.

Until the legal battle between Shankar and Kolde develops a bit further, it’s difficult to say exactly how it will affect the impending spinoff. Shankar is currently working on several other projects for Netflix, including Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix and Heaven’s Forest. With that in mind, it may be in the streamer’s best interest to support Shankar where possible, and since Castlevania is a Netflix original series, the company might have real power to do so. That said, it's troublesome for the streaming giant to be linked to an ongoing legal battle in the midst of developing the spinoff. The tension among creators is certainly not something Netflix would want as the project's buzz since it overshadows the excitement.

In all likelihood, Shankar’s lawsuit won’t stop the future Castlevania spinoff from coming out, but it could alter the form it takes and who actually ends up calling the shots for it. The original series was a huge hit for Netflix and has been held up since as an instance of video game adaptation done right. With so much of the production landscape already shifting going into the Castlevania spinoff, Shankar’s lawsuit could shake even more about the new series’ development and the fan base’s response to it.

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