We Interviewed Adi Shankar The Creator of Netflix Anime Series Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix!

In our exclusive interview, we delve into the creative mind behind “Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix,” none other than its creator, Adi Shankar. Join us as we explore inspirations, delve into the goals driving the project, dissect the thematic layers of the series, and much more!

1. What inspired you to create Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix the Netflix animated series?

When the opportunity came about to work with Ubisoft, they initially wanted me to adapt a single IP.  Instead I came back to them with a pitch for this idea of a sprawling cyberpunk dystopia brimming with their entire catalog of franchise characters.  I have a long-standing history of making subversive remixes of pop culture staples and I knew right away the story I wanted to tell with Ubisoft was bigger and deeper than a single character.  It was a wild swing, and somehow Ubisoft not only agreed to it, but did so enthusiastically.  We were very much on the same page the whole time and it’s been a wonderful partnership.

2. How did you approach the adaptation process, bringing the story to animated format?

I liken it to the 1988 Zemeckis classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit, in the sense that it’s in most respects an original genre story, albeit populated with well-known and beloved characters.  Contrary to most adaptations, that left it relatively free of expectations and allowed us to develop an interesting plot and spins on the characters without being tied to any existing canons.  

3. These characters originated in the gaming world, but can you share some insights into the challenges and joys of developing the characters for an animated series?

It was really a process of dropping these characters we all know into an alternate history world and figuring out how they would develop within it: the kinds of people they would become and where they would end up when faced with a reality different than the one we recognize them from.  In some cases they’re relatively unchanged, aside from their circumstances.  In others, they’re radically different people.

4. Can you discuss how the team worked together to bring the series to life?

Pre-Netflix we had our friends at Angry Metal Studios do some initial concept work. Once we got the greenlight from Netflix, French animation studio Bobbypills was drafted to continue visual development and carry the project forward into production.  The team at Bobbypills led by Mehdi Leffad is phenomenal and the work they did wildly exceeded my expectations for the show, adding so much richness and character to every scene.  And throughout it all Ubisoft remained very supportive of course.  Overall it was a wonderfully collaborative environment that helped make the show the best it could be.

5. Were there specific themes or messages you aimed to convey through the animated adaptation?

The elements that make up this six episode, action-packed animated series are a Trojan Horse, housing deep satire and social critiques covering revolution, mass surveillance, monopolization of the American dream by large tech corporations, and the dangers of our own relentless pursuit of comforts. 

6. Netflix has a global audience. How did you consider the international appeal while creating the series?

Certainly, Ubisoft and the animation studio Bobbypills are both based in Paris, so there was a degree of internationality baked into the production right from the start.  And of course many of the characters and worlds we draw from for this show are globally famous names themselves, having been played in countless games around the world over a span of decades.  I myself am international, having been born in India and then growing up between Hong Kong and Singapore. Adding to that the elements of cyberpunk and synthwave, I think we ended up with a broad accessibility that most audiences could appreciate.

7. Series often have memorable soundtracks. How did you approach incorporating music to enhance the viewing experience?

I was fortunate to have previously worked on another project with the composer for Captain Laserhawk, the Swedish synthwave artist named Oscillian.  When Laserhawk started becoming a reality, I knew right away that he was the one I wanted to bring this world to life.  It was a perfect match, and I had a good sense of his talent by this point so I simply trusted him to take it away.  He did a phenomenal job with it, I couldn’t have asked for better.  

8. Without spoilers, what do you hope viewers will experience or take away from the animated series?

The fascist corporate state known as Eden foreshadows the dangers of our own ever-growing global monopolies, and how easily dependence on such a company could bring a country to its knees with its pervasive presence in our lives. Even in a supposedly equal society, capitalistic infrastructure relies on class exploitation, or in this case, a genetically manufactured “Hybrid” workforce.

9. Goals for this series?

This story extends far beyond what you see on screen.  We already have a couple of comics published that deepen the lore of Eden and Laserhawk, but there’s an entire universe of characters and history in my head that I plan to see explored. 

10. Where can folks support your work?

They can watch Captain Laserhawk and our upcoming Devil May Cry series exclusively on Netflix, and see our “Bootleg Universe” short films on youtube @ BootlegUniverse123.


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