In a move so common that it’s almost become cliché, Netflix’s Castlevania: Nocturne supervising background designer Steve Stark has dismissed criticism of Annette’s race-swapping by encouraging fans unhappy with the change to refrain from tuning in.
A spin-off of Power Animation Studio’s core Castlevania animated series produced by the studio themselves, Nocturne is set to bring the events of the 1993 video game Castlevania: Rondo of Blood to the small screen.
Set amidst the 18th century French Revolution, the original game followed Richter Belmont – the direct descendant of original Castlevania protagonist Simon Belmont – as he attempted to live up to his lineage by both rescuing his girlfriend Annette from Dracula’s cluthes and putting the monster back in his grave.
Notably, in the original game, Annette is portrayed as a young white woman typical of the game’s Transylvanian setting.
Annette would also keep this appearance (sans purple hair) in the game’s 2007 remake for the PlayStation Portable, Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles.
However, it appears, this will not be the cause concerning her upcoming appearance in Nocturne.
As revealed in its latest trailer, not only will the series feature the franchise’s first black vampires, but it will also race-swap Annette.
Further, her race is not the only thing receiving a shake-up.
According to Netflix, the former damsel-in-distress will now be portrayed as a sorceress “who used her power and wits to escape vampire-enforced enslavement in the Caribbean, and now wields magic to stop the impending apocalyptic threat”.
In response to the public debut of this new incarnation of Annette, Stark took to Twitter to voice his pride in the production’s blackwashing of the classic character.
Retweeting a fan who was excited for the change, the supervising background designer declared, “Making Castlevania: Nocturne was worth it for a vast number of reasons, but seeing so many people react to stuff like this is one of the best.”
In response to this tweet, I -the author of this article – took to my personal Twitter account to push back against Stark’s portrayal of the situation, asking “Sir, have you not seen the amount of Castlevania fans furious with Annette being race-swapped?”
“Original characters are great, but the race-swapping [of] pre-established characters needs to stop,” I added.
In turn, Stark derisively wrote us off, stating, “I’ve literally seen like a handful of people angry about it, go complain about something that matters.”
Continuing the exchange, I then proceeded to simply inquire, “Why can’t you respect the source material?”
“Don’t watch the shown then,” Stark countered back, “I genuinely don’t care if a very small handful of people are angry we made a character black.”
Per the series’ official synopsis, “Castlevania: Nocturne locates its adventures in a thrilling setting — the atmospheric backdrop of the French Revolution, As the peasant class rises up against the aristocracy, an even darker threat emerges: a cabal of powerful vampires intent on taking over the world and blotting out the sun forever.”
“Castlevania: Nocturne delivers elegant animation and surprises as our heroes battle vicious monsters while also facing down their own inner demons,” the official synopsis concludes. “By the time rumors spread of a “vampire messiah” who must be stopped at all costs, the stakes in the Castlevania universe have never been higher.
At current, the series is scheduled to premiere on Netflix on September 28th