UPDATE: Latino Review e-mailed del Toro for a response, and he gave them a simple "No deal set." Which means, hey, at least this is somewhere in the pipeline and not totally out of left field. We'll have to wait and see if anything ever comes of it though.

Ever since Guillermo del Toro stepped away from the two-part Hobbit movie a few weeks ago, it's been a widespread guessing game not only who would replace him, but what del Toro will make next. He's had no lack of projects in development over the years, but instead of tackling one already in his "to-do" pile, Pajiba reports he may take on another one entirely.

They're hearing that there's another Van Helsing movie in development at Universal, one that will have nothing at all to do with the 2004 Stephen Sommers bomb but will go back to the original story of the vampire hunter. Del Toro's production company is developing the film and he's apparently written a script treatment himself; there's no word on whether or not he'll direct it-- I'm betting no-- but he seems be intimately involved in the progress one way or another.

Del Toro has background with bloodsuckers from directing Blade II, and showed an obvious affinity for odd creatures of all kinds in the Hellboy movies and Pan's Labyrinth. If we're going to revive the Van Helsing name I suppose it may as well be under del Toro's guidance, though I hope he stays on merely as mentor-- call me selfish, but I want to see more original del Toro stories, not adaptations of existing characters. He just got rid of his Hobbit shackles, and I'm dying to see what kind of crazy stories he had percolating in the meantime.

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