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Castlevania Creators Adapt The Epic Ramayana Story For Netflix 

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BY November 24, 2019
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The Ramayana story is an epic poem makes up of the core beliefs for the Hinduism religion. That story will now become a Netflix original animated series by the creators of the Castlevania anime.

In an exclusive report, Deadline announced that Netflix will be the home of a new animated show inspired by the story of the epic poem, Ramayana. The series will be from the entire team of Netflix’s own original anime Castlevania

Castlevania poster Image via Netflix

What Is The Ramayana Story?

The Ramayana is a massive story told in poem form. It’s written in Sanskrit and essentially is the ancient text that ultimately founded Hinduism. Along with the Mahabharata, the two epics form the Hindu Ithihasa, which is the narrative retelling of the principles and teachings that Hindus follow.

The story of the Ramayana itself is a personal one. It is the story of Rama, a prince of legend, exiled for fourteen years in a forest by his own father, the king. The Ramayana chronicles the story of his exile, and his many adventures and travels across many forests of India. Joining him on his journey is his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana.

The climax of the story sees Sita kidnapped by a demonic Ravanna, prompting Rama to rescue her with an army of Monkeys and a half Monkey/half man devotee of his. It’s an epic confrontation used as the pinnacle of the triumph of good over evil in the Hindu culture.

How The Ramayana Story Influenced The Hindu Religion

The stories contained within the Ramayana showcase the ideal aspects, held in the highest regard. The depictions of the various relationships of the characters within the Ramayana story– fathers, mothers, brothers, sons, husbands and wives– are the most ideal depiction. So Hindus by example should try to live up to the ideals of those in the Ramayana story.

Rama’s sacrifice of his kingdom in the face of manipulation by his stepmother. Lakshmana and the other brothers of Rama’s loyalty to their brother. The devotion of Sita to her husband. Are all valued ideals and held up as virtuous, for others to emulate.

Similarly to other religious texts, the stories in the Ramayana have become parables, folklore, stories that teach ethical, moral and cultural values. It has even permeated modern-day Indian culture, influencing many films, books, tv series, and the overall cultural zeitgeist.

Heaven’s Forrest Will Serve As A Story Inspired By The Ramayana

So it’s not a surprise at all that the Ramayana story is the basis of another original Netflix animated series. The series, titled Heaven’s Forest, will be from comic book writer Warren Ellis, as well as Adi Shankar, the creators of Castlevania.

Co-creator of the Ramayana story inspired Heaven's Forest, Adi Shankar Image via vagueonthehow

The series is set to be an action drama set in an Indo-futuristic world. The characters are from the Ramayana story, although, how on-the-nose is yet unknown. Ellis and Shankar are the team behind one of the first-ever Netflix original Anime, Castlevania, so they already have a working relationship with the streaming giant.

The Creators Behind Heaven’s Forrest

Warren Ellis is a notable comic book writer, who has transitioned into films and TV over the years. Many of his comic book stories have become films, such as the Bruce Willis starring Red and Red 2. His arc on the Iron Man comic books was the direct inspiration behind the story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe film, Iron Man 3.

Adi Shankar is the man best known for producing some offbeat projects. While his most mainstream project is the cult hit Dredd, Shankar is mostly known for his ‘Bootleg Universe’, unauthorized short films based on franchise characters, such as Venom, Punisher and the Power Rangers.

Co-creator of the Ramayana story inspired Heaven's Forest, Warren Ellis Image via Gage Skidmore

Together, Ellis and Shankar’s vision towards Heaven’s Forrest should be incredibly interesting. However, this is not the first time that a comic book related, series inspired by one of the Hindu texts, set in a futuristic world has been in development.

Grant Morrison’s 18 Days Was Similarly Based On The Mahabharata

As mentioned before, the Mahabharata was another epic poem, which combined with the Ramayana story featured the history of Hinduism. Unlike The Ramayana, the Mahabharata was much larger in scope, consisting of an epic war for power.

Comic book writer Grant Morrison Image via Jason Scragz

The Mahabharata was the basis for highly anticipated, but ultimately go-nowhere series 18 Days by comic book legend Grant Morrison. It was a massively ambitious project that never saw the light of day. In 2008 Morrison himself announced the project. However, after many delays, changes in format from an animated series, to shorts, to ultimately a watered-down comic book run, it was not what most expected.

While totally different stories, events in the Ramayana story directly lead to the Mahabharata and are set in similar times. 18 Days was eventually released as a comic book using Morrison’s scripts for his animated series but didn’t find the reception it originally wanted. Morrison also distanced himself from those ultimate adaptations of his original work.

18 Days Artwork Is Some Of The Most Impressive Stuff Ever

What remained from 18 Days is the artwork reimagining the ancient Hindu texts; the time of Gods, legends and iconic Hindu imagery depicted in strong and vibrant ways. Along with some Steampunk and Techno influences as well.

Grant Morrison's 18 Days Poster Image via Comixology

I can’t help but wonder if some of these leftover materials from 18 Days will now be the basis for the look that informs the Netflix series. Set in a futuristic world, Heaven’s Forrest shares plenty of story DNA, subtly or directly.

No word yet on when Heaven’s Forest will debut on Netflix. 

Are you excited to see how the Ramayana will become an action-drama series? Let us know in the comments below.

TV ShowsAdi ShankarGrant MorrisonHeaven's ForrestMahabharataNetflixRamayanaWarren Ellis

Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.

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