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Van Helsing’s back in production and hoping to slay by end of 2020
Van Helsing has taken fans on a dark exciting ride over its first four years, and with the fifth and final season back in production, the cast and crew got together during Comic-Con@Home on Thursday to answer some fan questions, tease where Vanessa Van Helsing (Kelly Overton) is, and also to talk about how the global pandemic created some challenges for getting filming back on track.
The panel was moderated by Morris Chapdelaine and, in addition to Overton, included cast members Jonathan Scarfe (Axel), Tricia Helfer (The Dark One), Jennifer Cheon Garcia (Ivory), Aleks Paunovic (Julius), Keeya King (Violet), and Nicole Munoz (Jack), as well as showrunner Jonathan Lloyd Walker and executive producers Chad Oakes and Mike Frislev.
After speculating and teasing (though, alas, without dropping any real clues) where Vanessa Van Helsing may be after she dragged The Dark One through an unpleasant-looking vortex in the seventh episode of last season, the cast and crew talked about what it was like to start up work again on the show’s fifth and final season.
“Everybody has been thrown into this new reality, this new world,” Frislev noted in the panel discussion above. “We spent 12 weeks trying to figure out how to come back safely.”
The good news is that everyone's effort and planning paid off, with the team back in production in Canada. The pandemic, as it's done with pretty much everything, however, required some changes to the original storylines Walker and his writing team had drafted before the pandemic.
“We got back from Slovakia and we shot some remarkable stuff there. I was really really excited about how that all worked out," Walker recounts. "But we got off the plane on Monday, March the 9th, and the plan was to carry on, the plan was to get the rest of the season in ... as the days ticked by and the crisis got worse it became clear that wasn’t going to happen.”
Walker worked with his writers to redo the scripts to reflect the changes in the production timeline and the new constraints and uncertainty around shooting. And while it was a significant undertaking, Walker is pleased with what he’s seen. “The stuff I’ve seen so far, that we’ve shot, is really great. I think we’re still in for a great season of Van Helsing, where we’re going to make some fantastic stories.”
The cast, many of whom are currently in Canada shooting, also shared their feelings at being back to work in such an uncertain time. “It was surreal—we were in quarantine, your job was to stay at home, stay safe, and then all of a sudden, you’re on set,” Jennifer Cheon Garcia said. “There was something that was so real about it this time—being in a pandemic, being where we are as humanity and now bringing it into this apocalyptic vampire world. There was something that was very close to home about it.”
Production continues for the cast and crew, and three episodes of Season 5 are already in the can. And while nothing is official yet, Frislev did hint that fans may get to the final season soon. “The hope is for us to return late fall/early winter,” he said.
And what about potential spinoffs? “There has been nothing official,” Frislev concedes. “And I don’t think anyone wants to jinx it. We just want to get through and get this season done. But you know what," he teased at the end of the panel, "never say never.”
Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of Comic-Con@Home 2020.