Another dormant property to get the creative overhaul this week is Van Helsing, now that The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Syfy has acquired the rights for a female-led reboot of the supernatural franchise, one which would focus on Vanessa Helsing as the famed monster hunter.
Neil LaBute (The Wicker Man) has been instated as showrunner of the series, which is on course for a 13-episode run on the network in late 2016. Production is primed to kick-off in January, though Syfy is yet to reveal which actress is in contention to hunt down Dracula on the small screen.
Here’s a brief description of the set-up.
In this new interpretation, the central character is now a female, Vanessa Helsing, the next in a lineage of warriors who must lead mankind against a world controlled by vampires. When Vanessa is resurrected five years in the future, she learns vampires have taken over the world and that she possesses unique power over them. She is essentially humanity’s last hope to lead an offensive to take back what has been lost.
At least in theory, the network’s Van Helsing series harbors a certain amount of potential in the sense it could tap into a similar audience as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, instead depicting a world overrun by dastardly bloodsuckers. What’s important to note is that this female-led version has no connection to the Hugh Jackman-fronted actioner of 2004, nor Universal’s planned reboot as part of the studio’s shared monster universe.
Without an actress in place to play Vanessa, it’s difficult to gauge the series’ chances of success. Mind you, the Van Helsing brand has been off the mainstream scene for more than a decade at this point, and so long as the decision to switch genders fits in the context of the story LaBute wants to tell, we’re willing to give it the benefit of the doubt – for now.