As recently as a couple of months ago, Universal Studios announced that they were gearing up to reboot their line of classic Universal Monsters for a new generation. While some may have been surprised, others were found either rolling their eyes or smiling nice and wide, as this news reminded them of one movie and one movie only: the Hugh Jackman starring Van Helsing, which turned ten this very year. Apparently ten years must be the statute of limitations for withholding the secrets to failed franchises, as we've just found out there was supposed to be room for one more monster at the table; the Gill-man!
Artist Doug Brode recently posted a series of storyboards from the 2004 Stephen Sommers film that depict a scene that was scrapped from the production before cameras even rolled. For a little more background, here's what IMDB has on record about the scene.
At some point in pre-production, a cameo appearance by the Gill-Man from Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) was slated to appear in the underground cave where Van Helsing and Anna discover Frankenstein's Monster. However, this idea was dropped before filming began.
In case your Van Helsing is a little rusty, here's why this scene could have made an already underrated movie even more so. During the movie, Jackman's Van Helsing is bitten by a werewolf he's fighting off during an exciting carriage chase sequence. This makes part of the film's remaining plot a mad dash to retrieve the werewolf cure that Dracula is keeping a vial of, just in case things get a little too hairy for his liking. The final cut of this scene involved Igor (Dracula's new lackey) and Aleera (one of Dracula's infamous three brides) fighting Van Helsing's companions Anna and Carl, before they eventually got what they came for.
Of course, that's not what was supposed to happen. Originally, according to these storyboards, Anna and Carl are still trapped by Igor, but instead of falling to his death he is dispatched of by none other than Gill-Man! A cat and mouse sequence ensues, with Anna ultimately being knocked around by Gill-Man and carried away by his webbed hands. Just when all looks lost, in comes Frankenstein's Monster to coldcock Gill-Man and free a still unconscious Anna in the process.
This is EXACTLY the type of scene that could have helped make Van Helsing that much more fun! The film was created as the ultimate mash up of Universal Monsters, and to leave Gill-Man out of the mix means that Stephen Sommers, for once, was afraid to throw that kitchen sink into one of his films. If there was a movie that needed that kitchen sink more than ever, it has to have been G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra, but Van Helsing could have always used this extra mile to boost it into The Mummy Returns territory.
Van Helsing is available on Blu Ray and DVD. If you haven't watched it, you should seriously give it a look. If you've already seen it, you either own it, or you need to watch it again and then buy a copy.