Fans of the Hellboy movies might have mixed feelings tonight. Mike Mignola, the creator of the popular supernatural superhero, has revealed that there will be another movie after all… and Guillermo Del Toro and Ron Perlman won’t be involved. This new, R-rated version of the character will be played by David Harbour (Stranger Things), and directed by Neil Marshall (The Descent).
Hellboy is the name of a supernatural entity who was born to be an agent of evil, but was raised by a kindly professor and saved the world from monsters instead. Oscar-nominated filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro directed the first two, acclaimed but only modestly financially successful Hellboy movies in 2004 and 2008.
The filmmaker had long discussed his plans for a third film in the trilogy, and had announced that conversations were taking place about it earlier this year, before confirming – to the disappointment of many – that “100% the sequel will not happen”. Guillermo Del Toro did not provide any details, but Hollywood Reporter claims that Hellboy 3 would have been prohibitively expensive, so the producers decided to start over again from scratch.
It’s worth noting that although the Hellboy movies have passionate fans, they were only one possible interpretation of the character and his supporting cast. Guillermo Del Toro’s vision was creepy but definitely had a PG-13 mentality, and had a tendency to fall back on familiar action movie matinee tropes. They’re good movies, maybe even great movies, but they’re hardly unassailable classics, and it’s entirely possible that a talented horror filmmaker like Neil Marshall – who is also an Emmy-nominee for his work on Game of Thrones – could offer a very exciting new perspective on Hellboy, and that David Harbour will also be able to make the iconic character his own.
In other words, Batman has been rebooted several times with new filmmakers, new perspectives and new actors. The same goes for Superman, James Bond, and Star Trek. There’s no reason to treat Hellboy as uniquely sacrosanct, especially when it’s being transferred to other talented filmmakers and actors.
Of course, the new Hellboy might very well suck. Or it might be the best thing ever. Don’t rush to judgment yet. For now, consider the possibilities, and hope for the best.
Top Photos: Dark Horse / Netflix
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and Canceled Too Soon, and watch him on the weekly YouTube series What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.