We have really been keeping tabs on Adi Shankar, because he just so happens to have a ton of stuff in development at the same time. The prolific producer responsible for some of the more laudable video game adaptations out there — including the successfully ambitious Netflix animated series Castlevania — has been sinking his teeth into even more recognizable properties as months go by.
As Castlevania revs up for its third season on the streaming platform, Shankar is attached to an anime version of Assassin’s Creed. Furthermore, he is reportedly taking on the comparatively fluffier world of The Legend of Zelda. And now, we have word from the man himself that Hideki Kamiya‘s Devil May Cry video games are next in line for the small screen. According to an IGN interview with Shankar, Capcom’s influential hack-and-slash action-adventure series will become an animated show in its own right.
The Devil May Cry series, which has very early roots as an abandoned Resident Evil sequel back in the day, comprises fast-paced, combat-heavy games with a relatively simple storyline. Its main playable character, Dante, is a vigilante demon-hunter who is fueled by a strong moral compass alongside a hefty dose of childhood trauma; specifically, the murder of his mother and a complicated relationship with his twin brother, Vergil. Aesthetically, Devil May Cry takes loose inspiration from Dante Alighieri’s narrative poem Divine Comedy. Besides the fact that its protagonist is obviously named after the Italian poet, there are various other allusions throughout the games’ plot to the Seven Deadly Sins as well as various characters and creatures from the original epic.
IGN’s announcement really only reveals that Shankar’s latest pet project is currently in the works. Nevertheless, Devil May Cry will notably join Netflix’s Castlevania as part of a serial onscreen universe titled the “Bootleg Multiverse,” as well. While we’re left to speculate on what possible crossovers could now happen between both shows as a result of this revelation, that specific moniker at least serves as a definitive reference to Shankar’s original Bootleg Universe.
And really, this is the most promising comparison to make. We’re talking about the initiative that helped propel the producer into the public eye in the first place, after a string of feature films such as The Grey and the vastly underrated Dredd adaptation. Through the Bootleg Universe, Shankar has lovingly transformed beloved properties in geekdom such as Power Rangers, The Punisher, and Venom into well-received fan films mainly aimed at older audiences.
Yet, another huge draw of the Devil May Cry news is the fact that obtaining the rights to these famous games is clearly a point of pride to Shankar himself. In his own words, this proactivity ensures that “the jabronis in Hollywood don’t fuck this up, too.” While that statement may contain a great degree of self-praise, we’ve grown to legitimately trust how Shankar handles anything fandom-related thanks to his noteworthy track record of delivering vastly satisfying takes of fan favorites on screens big and small.
To include Devil May Cry within the same(ish) continuity as Castlevania is a fantastic idea due to how the latter has been transposed for TV. Shankar and screenwriter Warren Ellis‘ collaboration on Castlevania allows for an undeniably atmospheric and stylish series to be spawned from the rather sparse original narrative of its source material (mostly Castlevania III: Dracula’s Curse). What’s even better is the surprising amount of depth that the show is able to jam into its limited four-episode first season alone, only for that lore to further untangle in politically and character-driven storylines during the following season.
From its inception, Castlevania immediately worked as it purposely does not stick by the rules of a cold Hollywood video game adaptation. Rather, it anchors its opening season — what is best-watched as a 100-minute four-part movie — on characters that can organically evolve with additional textured backstory in plots to come. The show’s impeccable voice acting then goes hand-in-hand with these nuanced avatars. This doesn’t mean that set pieces of Castlevania aren’t beautifully realized, either. The series’ bloodsoaked action sequences are incredibly visually impactful and there is no shortage on both dark and goofy humor to balance all that grimness out.
Not to immediately demand that Shankar does the same thing with Devil May Cry, but the Castlevania method of world-building would bring appreciable life to the onscreen version of new vibrant and violent adaptation. Devil May Cry has a rather formulaic and melodramatic main plot on the outset, although it does ensure that atmosphere, lore, and character still figure into its overarching story as the games progress. Instead, the games make those premises pack a real punch by producing exceptional graphics and intense aestheticized action-oriented gameplay alongside it. Hence, Dante’s heroic hijinks would definitely benefit from Shankar’s storytelling input. He has proven his mettle of spiritual fidelity with fan works and bigger budget adaptations alike, and this marks good news for Devil May Cry.