Castlevania was quite the landmark series for Netflix - not only was it one of the streaming service's first anime series, but it was the first ever video game adaptation to get a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Based on the long-running gaming franchise that dates back to the '80s, this dark medieval fantasy follows outcast vampire hunter Trevor Belmont as he fights to save the nation of Wallachia from a grief-maddened Dracula and his army of otherworldly creatures.
A good show or film based on a video game is a very rare beast indeed, so many fans were understandably confused when Netflix announced that the show would bite the dust with season four.
However, given that the shows four seasons received consistent critical and fan acclaim, don't expect the Castlevania coffin to stay shut - this is a show about vampires, resurrection and the undead after all.
Given that we felt the series "never quite lived up to its own potential" in our own Castlevania review, it's one of the few shows that deserves to carry on past its cancellation.
Here's everything we know about a potential season five, and any spin-offs that may be in the works.
What happened in Castlevania season 4?
Castlevania ended in the most appropriate way possible - one last blood-soaked battle at Castle Dracula.
There's one last big plot twist as Malcolm McDowell's Varney is revealed to actually be The Grim Reaper, who hopes to resurrect Dracula and drive him mad so that his subsequent killing spree will mean an endless food source.
However, Trevor is able to stop him by stabbing him in the head with a magical dagger - but possibly at the cost of his own life, as the spectre's death unleashes a huge blast of fire.
Just as the heartbroken and pregnant Sypha is about to give up, Trevor suddenly returns, and it turns out a dying Saint Germain was able to transport the vampire hunter through the Infinite Hallway just in time.
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With Trevor, Sypha, Alucard and Greta all settling down, there's one more surprise happy ending - Dracula and Lisa are resurrected in their own bodies, and decide to explore the world together rather than pursue vengeance any longer.
Why did Castlevania end?
Castlevania was renewed for a fourth season in March 2020, a few weeks after the launch of the third season. However, it was confirmed a month later that the fourth season would be the show's last, and the final episodes were released in May 2021 with the show wrapping up pretty much all loose threads.
No reason for the show's cancellation was given, and given Netflix's notorious secrecy over viewing figures, it's unlikely we'll ever know the true reason.
However, Castlevania spans multiple time periods over generations of the Belmont clan, so it may well be that the series reached the end of Trevor Belmont's story. The show only adapted two of the games after all - 1989's Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse and 2005's Castlevania: Curse of Darkness - and there are many, many other games in the series that feature several other protagonists.
Netflix has also been cancelling several series after only a few seasons recently, with new shows thought to be more effective at attracting new subscribers. This strategy may explain why the streaming service is working on another Castlevania show instead...
Will there be a Castlevania spin-off?
Yes! Well, sort of - Netflix have confirmed that a new series based in the Castlevania universe is on the way.
However, Deadline reports that the show will not be a direct spin-off but a "new series set in the same Castlevania universe with an entirely new cast of characters."
That likely rules out a potential continuation of the newly reanimated Dracula's story, or perhaps even the adventures of Trevor and Sypha's unborn child - but there are plenty more Belmonts from the games to focus on. As the games span multiple time periods and follow the family over generations, Castlevania lends itself very well to separate series and spin-offs even if they are chronologically very far apart.
Simon Belmont was the protagonist of the original Castlevania games back in the '80s, and as one of the most famous characters in the franchise he would be a logical choice for his own series even if his adventures take place some 200 years after his ancestor Trevor. There was a reason why Sypha was revealed to be pregnant despite the show never actually introducing their child - clearly the showrunners are setting up the idea of a Belmont lineage.
However Netflix may opt for a prequel much like Witcher spinoff Blood Origin - the earliest chronological game is 2003's Castlevania: Lament of Innocence which is set in 1094, and a perfect opportunity for a Belmont clan and Dracula origin story. The game's protagonist Leon Belmont has already appeared in the anime series as a painting, and a prequel could explain why Trevor's family have been shunned and wiped out by the events of season one.
The Infinite Corridor featured in season three means that the show could also explore futuristic timelines - 2003 game Aria of Sorrow was set in 2035 and featured Soma Cruz, a character that executive producer Adi Shankar is particularly fond of according to an IGN interview.
Whatever time period the next Castlevania show heads to, the only familiar character likely to pop up is immortal vampire Dracula - he was reanimated after all - but after his seeming redemption at the end of the series it remains to be seen whether he will return as an antagonist.
We'll just have to wait for more details on where exactly the new Castlevania series is headed - but with over twenty games released, there's no shortage of story to mine.
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Could Castlevania return?
Castlevania wrapped up Trevor Belmont's story quite definitively with happy endings all around and the characters moving on, so a direct fifth season of the anime is quite unlikely.
However Netflix is clearly committed to the Castlevania universe with the announcement of this new series, so don't be surprised if we get more spin-offs if the new show proves a success - there are decades worth of materials from the games to adapt. Netflix has ordered two spin-offs for fellow videogame hit The Witcher, so with Castlevania tipped as having its own expanded universe of shows having several spin-off series at once is not out of the question.
It was also announced in 2018 that Castlevania executive producer Adi Shankar had acquired the rights to fellow Japanese videogame series Devil May Cry and would produce an animated series which he told IGN “will join Castlevania in what we’re now calling the bootleg multiverse.” However there has been no news since on the Devil May Cry adaptation, or how / if it will crossover with Castlevania.