The Vampire Diaries and Lost alum Ian Somerhalder is the lead star and a creative force behind V-Wars, which is coming soon to Netflix. This time, though, the former Damon Salvatore actor is not playing a vampire himself. He plays a scientist caught in the middle of the vampire wars (hence the title) with his best friend as the leader of the vampires.
What Is V-Wars About?
Netflix has a page up for V-Wars -- putting it in the TV Thrillers, TV Horror, and TV Sci-Fi & Fantasy genres -- giving it this description:
After a mysterious disease begins transforming people into vampires, Dr. Luther Swann is pitted against his best friend, now a powerful vampire.
The V-Wars print anthology series was conceived by Jonathan Maberry. V-Wars: Chronicles of the Vampire Wars is the first book in the anthology series, arriving in 2012. That was followed by V-Wars: Blood and Fire, then V-Wars: Night Terrors and V-Wars: Shockwaves.
In Netflix's V-Wars, Ian Somerhalder plays Dr. Luther Swann, with Adrian Holmes (Arrow) as his best friend Michael Fayne. As the disease spreads and more people are transformed, society fractures into opposing camps of normal people vs. vampires. Swann races to understand what’s happening, while Fayne rises to become the powerful underground leader of the vampires.
When Does V-Wars Premiere On Netflix?
Back in October 2018, actor Adrian Holmes posted "Stay tuned for V-Wars, Spring 2019 on @netflix." However, spring came and went. Turns out, Netflix was holding V-Wars for the end of the year. On October 30, 2019, Netflix finally revealed the premiere date of December 5th, 2019, along with some cool new photos.
How Many Episodes Will V-Wars Season 1 Have?
Netflix gave V-Wars a straight-to-series order, and Season 1 will have 10 episodes. Since it's Netflix, they should release all at once. That makes it perfect for binge-watching, as opposed to network shows like The Vampire Diaries that often run for 22 episodes a year, but you have to wait a full week for each new entry. That is, until the seasons end, and then you can binge The Vampire Diaries Universe in its entirety, so far, from The Vampire Diaries to The Originals and Legacies Season 2. They are all currently available on Netflix.
Who Has Been Cast In V-Wars?
In addition to leads Ian Somerhalder as Dr. Luther Swann and Adrian Holmes as Michael Fayne, the main cast includes Jacky Lai as Kaylee Vo, and Peter Outerbridge as Calix Niklos. Per Deadline, Laura Vandervoort (Supergirl) was also cast as Mila, Kyle Breitkopf (The Whispers) will play Dez, and Kimberly-Sue Murray (Crimson Peak) will play a character named Danika. We're still waiting for more details on many of the V-Wars characters. Sydney Meyer (Shadowhunters) revealed on Instagram that she's playing Ava O'Malley, and that's her in the photo above with Ian and Adrian. Sydney posted that on April 26, saying they were in V-Wars reshoots. Adrian replied with compliments and said "Love our battles," hinting to his vampire character fighting with her character.
Ian Somerhalder - Dr. Luther Swann
In August 2018, Ian Somerhalder gave fans their first look at his V-Wars character, Dr. Luther Swann. The full image shows blood on his hands, in addition to that serious expression on his face. Somerhalder captioned the Instagram image, "Would you trust this man?" Somerhalder said he wanted to play a good, normal man -- a husband and father whose superpower is just being a good dad and helping to save the world through science. It marked a welcome change of pace after playing Damon Salvatore across The Vampire Diaries.
That photo of Dr. Luther Swann is still the only real official image we have from V-Wars as of May 2019. Hopefully that will change soon, since there should be plenty of footage out there to show fans. On October 20, 2018 Ian Somerhalder posted a video announcing V-Wars had wrapped filming for Season 1. He thanked everyone in the filming locations in Canada -- plus the cast and crew and everyone at Netflix and IDW -- and said they would work hard to make V-Wars a hit show that fans appreciate and want to see continue.
Adrian Holmes - Michael Fayne
Adrian Holmes plays Michael Fayne, the other lead star of V-Wars. Fayne's charisma, quick thinking, and strategic sense lead him to take a leadership role in the growing vampire faction, despite being best friends with the human Dr. Luther Swann.
In October 2018, Adrian Holmes shared his own grateful wrap post to mark the end of V-Wars Season 1 filming, writing in part:
That's a wrap on season one! Thank you, thank you, thank you! To author Jonathan Maberry, IDW Publishing, Netflix Ian Somerhalder, Brad Turner and all our amazing producers, directors, cast and crew. This has been a complete and absolute joy ride from the start. [...] Blessings and can't wait to share this with you all!
Adrian Holmes was born in Wales but raised in Canada and known for the award-winning Canadian series 19-2. You may also have seen him as Frank Pike on Arrow, or as James Turner in Supernatural. He also played Ajani Okeke, Zhao's head-of-security and personal bodyguard, in the 2018 Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson movie Skyscraper.
Jacky Lai - Kaylee Vo
Jacky Lai is known for playing Aline in Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments and Riley in Beyond. In V-Wars, she plays a struggling online journalist named Kaylee Vo. She's described, per Deadline, as a would-be Assange who will do or say almost anything to advance her career. A fierce, funny, hustling fringe player, she breaks the biggest story imaginable and soon finds herself a key part of that story with a growing list of deadly enemies. On October 29, Lai shared this collection of images and a lovely caption from the last day of filming:
Peter Outerbridge - Calix Niklos
Peter Outerbridge was also cast as a series regular for V-Wars. He plays Calix Niklos, described as an elegant, malicious science expert on the Homeland Security Team. Fans might know Outerbridge best as General Davies on Zoo, or maybe as The Conductor on The Umbrella Academy, Captain Martens on The Expanse, Henrik Johanssen on Orphan Black, or Ari Tasarov on Nikita, among his many credits.
Who's Behind The Scenes Of V-Wars?
V-Wars is based on Jonathan Maberry's V-Wars: Chronicles of the Vampire War and comes to Netflix from IDW Entertainment and High Park Entertainment. Brad Turner (24, Stargate) was announced as directing the pilot episode and executive producing the show. William Laurin and Glenn Davis were announced as showrunners, with Eric Birnberg and Thomas Walden as producers through High Park; David Ozer and Ted Adams for IDW Entertainment; and James Gibb for Marada Pictures.
David Ozer, president of IDW Entertainment shared a statement on V-Wars when everything was first announced in April 2018:
We could not have dreamed of a better choice than Ian Somerhalder to bring his keen understanding of this genre from his years of starring in The Vampire Diaries to lead the cast of V-Wars as Dr. Luther Swann and to be a creative force on this series, as well as to serve as a director this season. We are thrilled to partner with Netflix to bring the multifaceted world that Jonathan Maberry created to audiences worldwide.
Ian Somerhalder was not only attached to star, but also direct a portion of the series. Somerhalder has experience from directing three episodes of The Vampire Diaries from 2015 to 2017. Adrian Holmes complimented Somerhalder's work ethic after wrapping the episode his co-star directed:
Well done pal. Cannot wait to see this ep! Now to direct is one thing folks, but to direct yourself and others while being the lead well... That's some super powers shit! Lol! Most impressive. Having worked with this dude over the past few months has been nothing short of inspiring. His passion, focus, dedication and love for the craft and life itself, is infectious and a pure delight to witness and be around. I'm a blessed man and so proud to be on this journey with such an incredible group of people from top to bottom. Stay tuned for V-Wars, Spring 2019 on Netflix. It's gonna be one Badass ride!
When And Where Did V-Wars Season 1 Film?
V-Wars filmed Season 1 in Canada. The 10-episode season reportedly started filming in June 2018 in Sudbury, Cambridge and Toronto, Ontario. V-Wars Season 1 wrapped in October, and there were news reports via CBC in Cambridge, Ontario about a bridge in the community of Galt being closed so the film crews could work on the Netflix series. Officials warned that the special effects and scenes could be "disturbing," with "simulated violence," so people were asked not to bring children to the area to watch filming. FYI, Galt's Main Street Bridge has also been used for filming on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale. On October 20, Ian Somerhalder posted this message to fans marking the end of filming:
Based on Sydney Meyer's post from the casting section above, it sounds like V-Wars went back for reshoots in April. Many TV shows and movies schedule reshoots for additional photography, but apparently that's something Ian Somerhalder forgot to keep in mind when he gave himself a drastic haircut. Hopefully that didn't cause any issues!
Will There Be A V-Wars Season 2?
At this point, it's too soon to say whether Netflix will bring V-Wars back for Season 2. Netflix is a very data-driven streamer, and it does tend to shut off the lights around Season 3, when shows start to become too expensive. But there are several factors that would be taken into consideration, including (presumably) fan demand. V-Wars Season 1 got a straight-to-series order, and Ian Somerhalder has already been vocal about asking fans to please watch Season 1 and keep episodes streaming on Netflix so The Powers That Be see there's interest and the cast and crew get to return for Season 2:
All you have to do as an audience; is watch. Even if you don’t like it ;) I’d like another crack at a SEASON 2. There are so many places to take this story I want another shot. Let me get into the details with our amazing team to make this a hit show; but I’m going to need you to check it out to see if you jive with it. It’s so very relevant to this modern, social, digital, political and emotional landscape that we all find ourselves all navigating and traversing together. [...] To our audience: I hope we can move you with grounded, nuanced performances and story with the time allotted for us to tell it. We tried. We will keep trying if you can give us the chance. There is an immense amount of TV out there- we hope you our frequency resonates with you.
Stay tuned for more updates on V-Wars once Netflix decides to dole them out. We're still waiting on a trailer and interviews. Keep up with the current Netflix premiere dates so far.