This year has brought bad news and good news on the Hellboy front. First up, the bad news was of course that Guillermo del Toro will not be finishing out his trilogy with the third installment he and star Ron Perlman have been trying to get off the ground for a while now. The good news? As we just learned this week, Neil Marshall (The Descent) will be directing tentatively titled reboot Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, penned by Andrew Cosby, Christopher Golden, and Mike Mignola. Sadly, however, del Toro will not be involved in any capacity, nor will Perlman.
In the wake of the announcement, Hellboy writer Peter Briggs took to Facebook to spill the beans on another Hellboy film that will sadly never see the light of day now that Marshall’s rated R reboot is on the fast track. Briggs was at one point, in the past and again very recently, attached to write and direct Hellboy: Silverlance, a spinoff from del Toro’s films centered on Abe Sapien!
Briggs relayed the whole saga:
Back in 2010, I was working out of an office at Weta Workshop in New Zealand, when I got a surprise call from Universal. Internally, Universal were keen to make a “Hellboy” spinoff based around the character of Prince Nuada from “Hellboy 2” and asked if I was interested in writing it. I said I was, although there was the slight problem of Prince Nuada being…ah…um…slightly “dead” at the end of “Hellboy 2”. I also pushed a little bit that, if it came off, I’d really like to direct it and make it in New Zealand. Universal were agreeable and said we could discuss that at the appropriate time.
I started working on an outline with my Los Angeles-based “Panzer 88” co-writer Aaron Mason while still in New Zealand. It was called “Hellboy: Silverlance”, and we solved the “Nuada Problem”. Although we never really discussed it as such it really was a “B.P.R.D.” movie. The aquatic Abe Sapien was the main character, and Hellboy still featured fairly prominently in it. I suppose you could liken it to a “Suicide Squad” situation: Batman was in there, but the story wasn’t really about him.
Aaron and myself turned it in. Universal really wanted to proceed with it, but after further discussions at the studio it was apparent a “Hellboy 3” was still on the cards for the studio and more of a priority, so “Silverlance” got back-burnered. I figured that was the end of that.
Five years later, 2015, I was in Sweden when I got another call from Universal. It was looking like “Hellboy 3” wasn’t now going to happen, so would Aaron and myself now be interested in further developing a reworked version of “Silverlance”? Larry Gordon would be involved. Hell, yes!
The one caveat Universal gave us was that the character of Hellboy himself now couldn’t be shown.
He continued, digging into the planned spinoff’s plot:
The story had a sort of “Highlander” structure to it. Moving into their new Bureau For Paranormal Research And Defense headquarters in Colorado, Abe is troubled still by his psychic connection with Princess Nuala from “Hellboy 2”, so researches the history of Nuala and Nuada. We would have seen Nuada’s connection to a rival fairy courtier who seeks control of the fairy kingdom (and Nuala’s hand in marriage), and engineers the machinations that cause Prince Nuada’s expulsion. We’d have seen Nuada in different timezones down the centuries, including his first meeting with Mister Wink in Spain during the Spanish Inquisition (Nuada saves Wink from a troupe of soldiers); and Nuada in Nazi Germany in World War 2 engineering a pact to keep various supernatural entities unharmed from the conflict. (We would have seen Nuada and Kroenen fighting in a “friendly” bout for a bunch of Project Ragnarok goons.)
Doug Jones would have been playing twin characters of both Abe and a reprise of the Angel Of Death, with whom Prince Nuada strikes a bargain. Agent Myers from the first “Hellboy” film would have returned. The story reached a rousing action climax at the B.P.R.D. Colorado headquarters and used Rasputin’s summoning gauntlet from the first movie (and we did manage to sneak Hellboy in for a cameo in one scene!) If it had been successful, it would have been the first in a series of “From The Files Of The B.P.R.D.” projects.
Briggs explained that the retitled Silverlance: From the Files of the B.P.R.D. was on-again, off-again through 2016, and he’s now fairly certain it’s dead thanks to the impending reboot.
With the announcement of the Neil Marshall “Hellboy” reboot project yesterday, I think it’s safe to say “Silverlance” is now officially dead. As a fan of “Hellboy” for 25 years, I’m curious to see how the new Millennium project turns out.
So are we, Peter. So are we.