Guillermo Del Toro’s Hellboy (2004) and Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008) are two of the modern era’s finest comic-book films. When the acclaimed director asked Twitter users earlier this year if they were interested in a third go-round (with star Ron Perlman and the rest of the original cast), the response was enthusiastic. Alas, no amount of social-media support could get the project off the ground — and things took an unexpected (and controversial) turn when, shortly after that campaign proved fruitless, it was announced that director Neil Marshall would be rebooting the series, with Stranger Things’ David Harbour taking over the lead role of Hellboy, the demon-turned-hero who works for a covert U.S. government organization. And now, after much heated online debate, the character’s creator, Mike Mignola, has weighed in on the upcoming film.
Speaking with Nerdist about his decades-long history with Hellboy — whose comic-book run has recently ended — Mignola gave his first thoughts about Marshall’s forthcoming adaptation, and the reason that Del Toro wound up not being involved.
“I would’ve loved to see Guillermo do his third movie and finish that story. But over the years it became very clear that wasn’t going to happen. About three years ago the producers, the screenwriter Andrew Cosby, and I all started working on this new story. Del Toro didn’t want to have anything to do with it, he wasn’t going to direct. He was offered to be a producer, and Ron [Perlman] wouldn’t do it without Guillermo.
“So we originally started trying to tie it to the del Toro universe and continue those movies. But once we had Neil Marshall, we thought, ‘Why are we going to try and continue that universe?’ Because a del Toro movie is a del Toro movie, and you don’t want to try and hand a del Toro movie to someone else. Especially someone as great as Neil Marshall. So that’s when it went from being this continuation to being a reboot. It’s exciting to have another director. It’s exciting to take another path, to take that material and give it another leaning.”
Sounding thrilled about taking the material in a novel (and more R-rated) direction, Mignola also says that Harbour is working overtime to make sure he nails the part pioneered, on-screen, by Perlman:
“[David] is super excited about being Hellboy and he wants to make sure he gets it right. He’s texting me Hellboy questions about his history, about what the character would think about this or about that. It’s really exciting to be back and see this thing come together.”
No doubt the new Hellboy is destined to be rigorously compared to its predecessors, and Mignola appears to be confident that fans will be happy with the end result. For more of his thoughts on Marshall’s cinematic take on the franchise, as well as his feelings about putting the character to rest (in the comics), click over to Nerdist.
David Harbour: ‘I Would Not Be Doing ‘Hellboy’ if it Wasn’t for ‘Stranger Things”:
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