The show may be titled Blood of Zeus, but the god of thunder doesn't get the last laugh in Netflix's new anime hit. Deep in the underworld, another deity made themselves known in a way that is both exciting and just a little bone-chilling.
Blood of Zeus, the latest American anime on Netflix from animation studio Powerhouse, tells a new story about the Greek Olympians and their war against the Giants. When the dust settles, Zeus' human son Heron (Derek Phillips) stands tall with the other gods on Mount Olympus, while his half-demon brother Seraphim (Elias Toufexis) rides the river Styx.
And Seraphim isn't alone. In an interview with Inverse, Blood of Zeus showrunners Vlas and Charly Parlapanides reveal how the ending sets up a possible Season 2 — and what's stopping Season 2 from happening right now.
Warning: Spoilers for Blood of Zeus Season 1 ahead.
At the end of Blood of Zeus, Seraphim wakes up on the river Styx carried by the phantom ferryman on his way to the underworld. Off in the distance, there's a looming tower evocative of Barad-dûr from Lord of the Rings (but a hundred times more evil).
A stranger walks out of the fog and identifies himself as Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, who credits Seraphim for using his bident. Hades points to the tower, warning Seraphim it is a place "far worse than you can imagine."
"But I can help you," Hades tells Seraphim, on one condition. "Kneel," Hades commands.
What Hades means for Blood of Zeus
Whether you know him as a blue-haired goofball in Disney movies or from the hit indie video game, the legend of Hades has been around for thousands of years. Shared across the many interpretations of Hades is that he is the brother of Zeus (ruler of the sky) and Poseidon (ruler of the ocean). Together, they defeated their father Cronus and his generation of Titans. When the Olympians divvied up the spoils, Hades got the underworld, along with his guard dog Cerberus.
With Zeus and Poseidon already introduced in Blood of Zeus, the Parlapanides Brothers tell Inverse the future of the show will see Hades getting a bigger piece of the action.
“We have a 20-page outline for Season 2, and it's very much a story of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon.”
"It's a big set-up for Season 2," Charley Parlapanides says. "Fundamentally, Season 1 is about Heron and Seraphim, and their stories continue in Season 2. But we have a 20-page outline for Season 2, and it's very much a story of Zeus, Hades, and Poseidon. The three brothers." He teases there are "things that happened in Season 1 that are really set-ups for Season 2. We go back to the story of when the brothers divided the three realms of the world."
The Parlapanides Brothers also reveal that Blood of Zeus is a story they've planned for five seasons, though its future is dependent on how Season 1 performs. While Netflix is notoriously secretive about its entire process, the brothers reveal it all depends on how many subscribers stream a new show over its first 30 days on Netflix. That same measurement is being applied to Blood of Zeus.
"We've planned out what we would hope to be a five-season arc," Charley says, though he adds Netflix is "only committed" to the first season for now. "It all depends on whether we get viewership [that will decide if] we get a second season.
Until they know what the future holds for Blood of Zeus, the Parlapanides Brothers are kicking back as their dream project is out in the world. They admit to spending quarantine playing the new video game Hades, the addicting roguelike title from Supergiant Games that envisions a Greek fantasy where players control the son of Hades and escape the underworld. (The brothers make it clear the making of Blood of Zeus had nothing to do with Hades, and that the only thing the two projects share beyond their source material is being released within a month from each other.)
Born and raised in New Jersey, the Parlapanides are second-generation Greek immigrants who wanted to tell a Greek fantasy that wasn't just authentic to their culture, but was also fresh and never seen before. Ironically, that meant playing it straight, as American pop culture and Japanese anime about the Greek gods often remix the mythology into other genres.
"The one time I don't like when [other writers] use Greek mythology is when they do like, Zeus in the present day and he's a drunk in an apartment. I always check out," Charley says. He explains there's a mistaken notion that the Greek legends are so well-known that they have to be remixed or re-imagined in order to sell. But the high performance of their show's trailer on YouTube (4.6 million viewers as of this writing) proves there's still plenty of fertile ground in telling the Greek myths exactly as epic and operatic as they are in museums.
"After that trailer, people have been asking, 'Why hasn't this been done before?' That always makes us smile because we don't know why," Vlas says. "We're just glad we thought of doing it."
Blood of Zeus Season 1 is streaming now on Netflix.