ByPramit Chatterjee, writer at
Enthusiastic reviewer of anything that moves. My undercover Twitter id is: @pramitheus
Pramit Chatterjee

Ever since the success of Hellboy and Hellboy 2, fans have been eager to experience the holy amalgamation of Del Toro and Ron Perlman once again with a third installment. However, all speculations came to a close this week when Hellboy creator Mike Mignola announced that instead of Hellboy 3, fans of the franchise are going to get a reboot with director Neil Marshall (The Descent), with David Harbour (Stranger Things) set to play Hellboy.

While the internet was trying to comprehend the exclusion of Del Toro and Perlman from the character's future on-screen venture, writer Peter Briggs took to Facebook to share the details of another canned Hellboy project. Briggs revealed that the cancelled spin-off would have focused on Abe Sapien, and was titled Hellboy: Silverlance. He also revealed that the project had been in the works since 2010.

"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."

Despite the studio's demand to exclude Hellboy from the movie, Briggs proceeded to rework the original script, weaving the story around Abe Sapien and the Nuada twins:

"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.)

As well as featuring exciting developments such as the history of Nuala and Nuada, the project sounds even more promising thanks to the actors who would have reprised their roles from the Hellboy movies, including Doug Jones.

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."

After re-titling the spin-off as Silverlance: From the Files of the B.P.R.D., Briggs saw the recent announcement of a Hellboy reboot as the final nail in Silverlance's coffin. Fortunately, he took the news like a true gentleman, and took the opportunity to share his love for the franchise.

"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."

After the announcement, both Perlman and Del Toro took to Twitter to thank their fans who had shared their love and appreciation for representing their beloved character.

Hellboy 3 and Silverlance: From the Files of the B.P.R.D. have now joined a legacy of great movie concepts that fans will never see on the big screen, but at least we can look forward to seeing what Neil Marshall and David Harbour have in store for Hellboy's future.

(Source: Bloody Disgusting)


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