The Netflix fantasy drama series Cursed has been immensely popular with fans since its release in July, leading to suggestions spin-off series could be in the works – specifically with regards to crowd favourite wizard Merlin.
Cursed is a fresh retelling of the story of King Arthur from the perspective of young sorceress Nimue. She believes she needs to join forces with Arthur – just a mercenary at the time, not a king – to save her people.
The Arthurian legends are stories that have been told for centuries and are deeply tied to the United Kingdom’s national mythology and identity.
The tales include various stories about the ascent of Arthur to the throne, his quest to attain the magical sword Excalibur, the search for the Holy Grail and, of course, the escapades of the Knights of the Round Table.
The overwhelming popularity of the legends has led to iterations in just about every entertainment sector from films such as Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail, to popular television shows like Merlin and Cursed, and even spin-off computer game like Dark Age of Camelot and Arthur’s Knights.
The impact of the legends on pop culture doesn’t end there, though, and we can see indirect influences in many games, works of fiction and on screen. If a story involves knights in shining armour, it has more than likely been influenced by King Arthur. An entire expansion to the wildly popular PC game Witcher 3 called Blood and Wine, for example, basically places the player in the middle of that world’s version of Arthurian lore.
Even the iGaming industry hasn’t been able to resist too, as there have been many slot games based on the Arthurian legends, such as the Rise of Merlin slot game featured at Betfair casino and others, that players can try out using bonus spins and experience the adventure of young Merlin before he became the famous wizard he is known as today.
Merlin is perhaps the most frequently portrayed Arthurian character, but one portrayal, in particular, has always intrigued audiences a little more than the rest and his appearance as a dark and mysterious wizard in Cursed has only enhanced that feeling.
Gustaf Skarsgard’s interpretation of the magician is a huge reason why it has resonated so well with audiences around the world. The success of Cursed and Skarsgard’s Merlin has apparently led Netflix execs to consider focusing a follow-up series exclusively about the wizard’s adventures.
This has been done before, of course, in the aforementioned Merlin – which first aired in 2008 and can be seen on Netflix right now. Nonetheless, this will be a fresh new take, following a young warrior Merlin in possession of the sword Excalibur before he met Arthur.
It would come as somewhat of a surprise if Skarsgard does not reprise his role as Merlin, but nothing is certain in the entertainment industry. Based on the direction and popularity of Cursed, the only other way they might go would be to create a female version of Merlin to drive a more modern take on the story.
Also, it would be a risk to replace Skarsgard, though, as he has become immensely popular with Cursed’s fans. There doesn’t seem to be many good reasons to replace him as the backlash would likely be severe and including him would provide a smooth transition from Cursed to spin-off series for audiences.
But for Netflix, a company credited with revolutionising how media is consumed, keeping a story as timeless as King Arthur fresh should be a walk in the park.For more on this story and many others, follow Mancunian Matters on Twitter and Facebook.