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The 2004 action horror Van Helsing, the titular character, played by Hugh Jackman, is a modern-day, re-interpretation of the famous vampire hunter from the Dracula novel. The film combined elements from Dracula, the Wolf Man and Frankenstein by having Van Helsing a monster hunter working for a "Black Ops Secret service" type arm of the Vatican that [we hope] is fictional.

In the film, Dracula refers to Van Helsing as "Gabriel" and says they were alive together for centuries. Van Helsing even seems to have a signet ring that Dracula says was his before, giving some validity to his claims. I was wondering if there was any further information on what this character's backstory may be?

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    Can you be a bit more careful when creating new tags? You don't need to create a tag for everything and most of these tags aren't necessary on the questions anyway so I'm going through and cleaning them up. You might consider looking over the help page on the create tags privilege to see when creating new tags is appropriate. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 16 '19 at 8:45
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    @TheLethalCarrot The dracula tag does seem relevant here ... – Rand al'Thor Sep 16 '19 at 12:22
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    @Randal'Thor Not really, the question is not about the character but rather about a character who is in a work where Dracula also appears. – TheLethalCarrot Sep 16 '19 at 12:41
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    @TheLethalCarrot It makes more sense that the dracula tag is for questions about all the various retellings and reimaginings of the Dracula story, of which this is one. – Rand al'Thor Sep 16 '19 at 13:20
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According to the wiki, the implication is that Van Helsing was/is actually the archangel Gabriel, who has spent centuries on Earth, including a time where he was close with Dracula.

During his time on earth, Gabriel fought many great battles. At some point near the 1460s, he was under the service of the Knights of the Holy Order when he met Count Vladislaus Dracula, with whom he became close friends. However, during a great battle, and for reasons unknown, Gabriel murdered Dracula in 1462. For this crime, God erased Gabriel's memory (though the video game claims that Dracula had broken the oath of celibacy of the Knights of the Holy Order and when the woman he loved was banished and killed he tried to bring her back to life with dark magic which forced Gabriel to kill him and unable to deal with the guilt, Gabriel asked God to erase his memories which God did).

Gabriel spent the next 400 years wandering the earth until one day after a battle, again with no memory, he was found half-dead crawling up the steps of the Vatican.

His species is also listed as 'reincarnated angel' on the wiki.

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  • Well that works. I was aware there was a game and a cartoon, but not a full wiki. Thank you for this. – Russhiro Sep 16 '19 at 3:09
  • The wiki page gives no references for any of this. It could just be fans reading too much into things. – OrangeDog Sep 16 '19 at 14:33
  • Or it could be fans actually watching the film. It's stated explicitly. – Keith Morrison Sep 17 '19 at 1:09
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During their final confrontation, Dracula makes the following statement to Van Helsing:

Did I mention that it was you who murdered me? It must be such a burden... such a curse... to be the Left Hand of God.

In Abrahamic religious tradition, the Archangel Gabriel stands at, and is called, the Left Hand of God. So while there's not much else in the film, it's clear that Dracula is informing Gabriel that he is the archangel Gabriel who has spent centuries (at least) on Earth for some reason and has forgotten who he really is.

So, at some point when Dracula was mortal they knew each other, Gabriel killed Dracula and acquired his ring, and Gabriel lost his memory of who he really was. The insinuation of Dracula's statement was that the killing was carried out as part of Gabriel's duties that Gabriel really wasn't keen on doing; why else mention his position as a burden or curse after mentioning the killing?

And some time later, Van Helsing became an agent of the Church...and that's it. That's all that can be extracted from the film itself.

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