It’s safe to say Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing movie didn’t really work out. The only thing is that vampires, werewolves, and monsters in general are still pretty popular — especially on TV. (See The Vampire Diaries, Teen Wolf, and just about every other CW series or Twilight knockoff.) You know what else is popular, right? Gender swapping roles originally played by men. Enter Syfy’s upcoming female-led TV adaptation.
Don’t think of this as a remake of the Jackman tale. According to THR, the network is developing a Van Helsing series that will have more in common with the character’s portrayal in Dracula. The character was originally introduced in the Bram Stoker novel as Abraham van Helsing, a vampire hunter and arch enemy to Count Dracula. Syfy, however, will focus instead on Vanessa Helsing.
The series will envision the character as not necessarily a reinterpretation of Van Helsing, but rather the next in a long line of supernatural warriors who is resurrected five years in the future. She awakens to a world ruled by vampires and must use the power she wields over these creatures to lead mankind in a fight against them.
Neil LaBute of Billy & Billie will be the showrunner for the series, and he’ll executive produce with Simon Barry, Evan Tyler, Dave Brown, Daniel March, and Chad Oakes. The latter further teased the plot of the series with a statement:
The series is unique in exploring a world completely dominated by vampires, while the human characters have to learn the importance of working together to ensure their survival.
Jackman couldn’t get the job done with this story, so perhaps the right actress can do it better. The announcement also happens to coincide with the recent start of production on Underworld 5, which stars another female badass (and Van Helsing co-star Kate Beckinsale) in a world filled with vamps. When it comes to the non-horror depiction of vampires, studios have, generally, given their properties more gender-diversified casts and often with female leads. Dracula Untold with Luke Evans was a rare male-leaning exception, but that didn’t turn out so well. It’ll be interesting to see whether a character like Vanessa Helsing will be able to appeal to a broader audience.