Today brought some unexpected but very welcome news for fans of Netflix’s Castlevania animated series. As showrunner Adi Shankar revealed exclusively to IGN’s Jacki Jing, work has begun on a Devil May Cry animated series that will exist as part of a shared multiverse with Castlevania. Suddenly, two of the biggest franchises in the gaming world have become intertwined.
While at first glance these might seem like very random pairings of AAA franchises, there’s actually a lot of potential in linking Castlevania and Devil May Cry. Here’s how we think these two shows will connect with each other and begin to forge a larger animated multiverse.
Multiverse vs. Shared Universe
Shankar is specifically referring to Castlevania and Devil May Cry as being part of a multiverse rather than one shared universe. That might seem like a minor distinction, but it reveals a lot about how the two shows are likely connected. Unfortunately, the word “multiverse” implies that the two series won’t be taking place in the same world. We could easily envision a scenario where Castlevania (which is currently set in 15th Century Wallachia) takes place some 500 years prior to the events of Devil May Cry (which will presumably unfold in the present day). But instead, it appears that the two series will be fairly isolated from one another.
This may be a necessary move given that the two game franchises are owned by different developers. It would be one thing to expand the world of Castlevania using other Konami properties like Silent Hill and Metal Gear, but it becomes a different matter entirely when Capcom’s franchises are brought to the table. As much as we’d love to see the mythologies of Castlevania and Devil May Cry merge into one cohesive dark fantasy universe, that’s probably too much to ask for.
The Arrowverse Comparison
So if the two shows aren’t going to take place in the same universe, what’s the point of linking them at all? Does announcing a Castlevania/Devil May Cry multiverse actually have a tangible impact on either show? We have to assume the answer is still yes. Frankly, we doubt Shankar would make this announcement if there weren’t concrete plans for having the two shows cross over with each other.
Our guess is that the two shows will coexist much in the same way The Flash and Supergirl do on The CW. Those two shows take place on separate alternate Earths in the larger DC multiverse. Barry Allen and his friends dwell on Earth-1, while Kara Danvers and crew reside on Earth-38. For the most part, Flash and Supergirl have separate adventures and don’t cross paths. But once or twice every season, one hero will cross the barrier between universes and pay a visit to the other. The line-wide Arrowverse crossover has now become an annual tradition every December, with this year’s “Elseworlds” crossover drawing near.
We assume Castlevania and Devil May Cry will have a similar relationship. We may not see Alucard cross paths with Dante very often, but it stands to reason that these shows will occasionally take the opportunity to bring one monster hunter over into another’s world, allowing them to battle foes too powerful for any one hero to overcome. Given how steeped both franchises are in the supernatural, it wouldn’t be very hard to invent a justification for an inter-dimensional crossover. Heck, most of the Devil May Cry games revolve heavily around the barriers between the mortal realm and Hell being shattered.
Hopefully, fans can look forward to occasional crossovers between the two shows, and possibly even the animated video game equivalent of The Defenders if Netflix continues to draw in more gaming properties. But it may be that the goal is less about establishing a shared continuity for these shows than it is building thematic ties.
Going back to the Flash/Supergirl comparison, it’s always very obvious that the two shows are part of a shared multiverse even when they go months without directly interacting with each other. That’s because they share many stylistic elements in common. They both take a relatively lighthearted approach to superhero storytelling. They both emphasize the importance of a strong support network in a costumed hero’s life. Tonally, both shows are similar enough that it’s easy to picture Central City existing just down the road from National City.
The same will probably hold true for Castlevania and Devil May Cry. Even if the two shows don’t have much in the way of a plot connection, Devil May Cry may draw a lot of inspiration from Castlevania in terms of its tone, presentation, and characterization. Why shouldn’t it? As we said in our review of Castlevania Season 2, the series easily ranks among the best video game adaptations ever. Given how difficult it’s been for studios to adapt games to other media in the past, it would be foolish not to take a long, hard look at why this series has succeeded where most others have failed. From Capcom’s perspective, the goal may be less about the fanboy appeal of pairing Dante with Alucard as it is having a Devil May Cry series that’s as critically acclaimed as Castlevania. Not to mention that with Devil May Cry 5 arriving in March 2019, now is the ideal time to give the franchise a renewed push in other media.
And there’s certainly plenty of inspiration to be drawn from Castlevania. This is a series notable for devoting painstaking attention to fleshing out its characters, heroes and villains alike. It’s also a show that revolves heavily around family histories and heroes reluctantly embracing their destinies. Dante and Alucard make for logical allies, not just because they’re both good at slicing up monsters, but because they’re both half-human warriors torn between two worlds. Regardless of any overt crossover elements, we’d be happy just watching a Devil May Cry series where Dante’s character arc mirrors what Alucard has suffered through over the course of 12 episodes.