Neils Skellig is a character who appears in the 2019 remake of Dumbo. A hunter hailing from South Africa, he is summoned by V.A. Vandevere to take care of a certain mother elephant who he fears will distract Dumbo from performing at his very best.
Neils is Vandevere's right-hand man. Throughout his duty, he follows V.A. Vandevere wherever he leads him to, working for the corrupt company Vandevere Enterprises. Just like Vandevere, he thinks Mrs. Jumbo is a distraction to Dumbo during performance, much to Vandevere's corrupt behavior.
Behind the scenes
Joseph Gatt was enlisted to play the hard-nosed hunter, but he didn’t want to overdo the performance. “It would be very easy to play him that way,” says Gatt. “That’s not my personal style of how I like to work, and I was really pleased when I met Tim Burton and one of the first things he said to me was, ‘You know, you’re going to be frightening enough just by doing nothing, by being.’ I said, ‘Oh. I think that’s a compliment.’ So, everything is just played very real, very down to earth.”
Neils Skellig is introduced as V.A. Vandevere's right hand man alongside Colette Marchant. As the circus travels to Arkansas, Neils tells Holt to take care of Dumbo on his good side just as he leaves the stable. Later during an act with Dumbo and Colette, he notices that Dumbo escaped into the Nightmare Island attraction to find his mother much to him and Vandevere's worry. As Dumbo reunites with his mother, Neils, Vandevere, and his guards take away Dumbo because Mrs. Jumbo is considered a distraction to him much to Holt's protests.
Later during a plan to take away Dumbo's mother, Neil sends the guards to take her away as the circus performers use their acts to distract the dangerous animals, disable the lights, and open the gates, Neil sends the guards to undo the actions the performers did while Neils secures the back door of the transport vehicle just as he does not notice the performers taking over the vehicle while noticing one of the creatures Reptilla and Werewolf going mad as Neils notices the performers taking over the vehicle.
At Vandevere's office, Neils and Vandevere confront Max Medici, urging him to find the missing troupe just as the two take Max to the backstage area just as he gazes upon Holt's children. Later when Dreamland is being destroyed, Neils corners Holt's children and tries to arrest the two, but Holt on his horse arrives to the rescue as Holt ties Neils to his horse, much to his angry protests in defeat just as Holt and his children Milly and Joe manage to escape with help from Dumbo. It is unknown what happened to Neils Skellig afterwards.
- Neils' last name, "Skellig", is possibly derived from the character Jack Skellington, a character from The Nightmare Before Christmas, another film Tim Burton worked on.