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Is ‘Renfield’ a Sequel? Answered

Nicholas Cage as Count Dracula in Renfield

Renfield is shaping up to be a strong addition to the genre of horror comedy. The film will see Nicholas Cage taking on his second vampire-related role as an incredibly campy Count Dracula. However, in a departure from most takes on Dracula, R. M. Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) will be the star of the film. In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Renfield is a mentally ill patient in an asylum who is recruited to be Dracula’s servant after Dracula promises Renfield immortality. As a result, he becomes Dracula’s overly devoted servant. But Renfield slowly begins to develop a conscience and rebel against him.

As a result, Renfield will put a modern and humorous spin on Dracula’s servant. The film sees Renfield become inspired to escape from Dracula’s toxicity after falling in love with a traffic cop named Rebecca Quincy (Awkwafina). However, the narcissistic, raging Dracula isn’t willing to let go of him so easily and sets out to destroy Renfield’s life as vengeance for his betrayal.

Most viewers are just eager to see Cage in an unhinged vampire role again, after he starred in the 1988 cult film Vampire’s Kiss. While Renfield is wholly unrelated to Vampire’s Kiss, some fans may be wondering if it is related to any other Dracula film adaptations, since there are quite a few of them.

Is Renfield a sequel?

Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula in Dracula (1931)
(Universal Pictures)

Renfield is a direct sequel to another Dracula film, but not the one you might expect. With Dracula Untold being the most recent live-action Dracula film, one might assume Renfield is a sequel to it. However, Renfield is actually a direct sequel to a film that premiered 92 years ago—Dracula (1931). While the film wasn’t marketed as a sequel, director Chris McKay confirmed that it was planned as one.

Dracula technically spurned two sequels, Dracula’s Daughter and Son of Dracula. But McKay doesn’t consider them direct sequels, because they don’t feature Dracula or Renfield. Hence, Renfield is the first direct sequel to Dracula. McKay told Collider:

I kept telling marketing that that’s what we should say, that this is the only direct sequel. I guess you could argue ‘Dracula’s Daughter’ is a sequel because the opening scene is the aftermath of the Tod Browning movie, but Bela Lugosi’s not in it, it’s a whole different set of characters. And it’s a great movie, it’s wild if you haven’t seen it. I thought the movie was great. But to me, this is the only real direct sequel with the Dracula and the Renfield of that movie. So yeah, I wish they’d use that in the marketing. I think that would’ve been a funny way of positioning this movie. The longest time between the original movie and the sequel, beating ‘Psycho,’ or whatever. I guess ‘Avatar’ maybe now, since it feels like a long time since the first one.

All the details of how Renfield ties into Dracula aren’t clear yet, though. After all, Dracula ends with both Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and Renfield (Dwight Frye) dying. So we’re not really sure how it’s possible that they’re alive in the present day in Renfield. However, McKay did mention that Renfield has been in servitude to Dracula for 93 years, which corresponds with the number of years between films. Additionally, Cage’s Dracula looks strikingly similar to Lugosi’s iteration, so it does seem as if Renfield will reveal that Dracula and Renfield actually survived the events of Dracula (1931). Ultimately, fans will have to wait until April 14 to see just how McKay pulls off this long-awaited sequel.

(Featured image: Universal Pictures)

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Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.