"Close your eyes and open your heart" — the beginning of the theme song to the iconic 2004 cartoon that sent many young girls (myself included) into a tailspin on Saturday mornings. Now, Winx Club has been adapted to something darker and built for older audiences in Netflix's Fate: The Winx Saga. But the sweeping grounds and green lawns have fans wondering: Where was Fate: The Winx Saga filmed?
Where was 'Fate: The Winx Saga' filmed?
For those who may have been thinking that this project seems a little sudden for a global pandemic, you're not alone. Filming for Fate: The Winx Saga took place through 2019, a surprisingly short shoot that went from September to December. Pictures of filming didn't surface on social media until later in 2020, but rest assured, they wrapped before any health concerns were in place!
Primary filming for the show took place in Wicklow, Ireland, and the primary filming location was Ashford Studios, where popular television show Vikings were filmed. Several of the main cast members were also cast in Ireland: Eliot Salt (Terra), Elisha Applebaum (Musa), Hannah van den Westhuysen (Stella), and Precious Mustapha (Aisha).
What is 'Fate: The Winx Saga' about?
Adapted from the Italian cartoon Winx Club created by Iginio Straffi, the show focuses on a magical boarding school in the mysterious Other Realm that is populated by fairies, witches, heroes (called "Specialists"), and now, villainous creatures known as Burned Ones. The story centers around a fairy from Earth named Bloom and her five magical best friends.
The live-action adaptation has unfortunately taken significant liberties with the characters, including the exclusion of Tecna, a fairy of technology, the casting of Musa, who was initially an East Asian-coded fairy, and the replacement of Flora, a Latina-coded fairy, with a white character named Terra. Iginio, the show's creator, was interested in a darker, live-action adaptation of the show during his company Rainbow's initial deal with Viacom, the studio that owns Nickelodeon.
When the animated series fell through at Nickelodeon, Iginio turned to Netflix. The show runner, Brian Young, previously worked on CW hit The Vampire Diaries, which was also an adaptation, albeit specifically for young adults. Winx Club's initial audience was young women ages 7 and older, so this darker, edgier treatment made some fans of the show significantly worried.
Brian told Today, "Look, again, I’m a massive manga anime fan, and a fan of the cartoon itself, but, of course, those are cartoons... Nobody looks like that. It was the most important thing to me that every kid can feel like they see themselves in it." People felt this was an attempt to justify leaving out the flashy costumes of the initial cartoon.
As a fan of the original, I'm choosing to be optimistic. After all, if the creator of the show himself is on board, why not give it a shot? Despite an unfortunate lack of wings or sparkly transformations, who knows where the show is headed. Fate: The Winx Saga is streaming on Netflix on Jan. 22, 2021.