Hellboy is making a return to theaters, and this time, he’s doing it without Guillermo del Toro.
The long-running comic series has already had two film adaptations: 2004’s Hellboy and 2008’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army. But as any diehard fan knows, director Guillermo del Toro’s interpretation of the Hellboy universe in those films was much more colorful and warm than the comics they pulled from. Though Hellboy actor Ron Perlman was built for the role and the films were met by a solid critical response, something felt… off.
But now, Hellboy’s creator, writer and artist Mike Mignola has, one that Mignola promises will be darker and more of a reflection of the often-bleak Hellboy comics. And as you can see above, actor in the first tease of Hellboy’s latest iteration.
Check out everything we know so far about the latest effort to put everyone’s favorite son of Azzael below.
Release date: Jan. 11, 2019
Hellboy began production in September 2017 and wrapped filming at the end of December 2017. So far, there’s been no trailer or teaser beyond that early shot of Harbour in his Hellboy makeup (above) and promotional posters at the Cannes Film Festival that make it very clear the film’s taking inspiration directly from the comics.
Cast: Who’s with Hellboy, and who’s against him?
Hellboy cast members Elizabeth Sherman and Abe Sapien, who both featured prominently in the del Toro Hellboy films and have led the ongoing Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense comic without Hellboy, are so far noticeably absent, suggesting the film will feature less of the government agency’s goings-on and be a more self-contained story like many of the Hellboy comics.
Plot news, rumors and theories
So far, very little is known about Hellboy beyond the basics of its cast and tone. What’s very clear though, is that this Hellboy is going to try to separate itself from the glut of superhero comic adaptations in recent years, and double down on what’s made the comics unique.
“Basically, there’s no part of Hellboy that was ever going to be like other superhero movies. And the more Marvel stuff there is, the more DC stuff there is, Hellboy never really feels like — even in the [Guillermo] del Toro things — a superhero movie,” Mignola said in an interview with io9. “It’s so much ‘big teams of guys, in costumes, running around and saving the world from big cosmic menace stuff…’ I believe the new movie will feel even less like a regular superhero thing.”
A big part of what differentiates the Hellboy comics is their close tie to regional folklore (what other series has Baba Yaga as a recurring villain?), a measured, serious tone (when Hellboy’s not drinking with skeletons or fighting armed monkeys) and a broad scope (just look at the state of the Earth in the current comics).
“To me, it’s very Shakespearean. I grew up doing regional Shakespeare and when Hamlet sees the ghost of his father, there’s something about that that you don’t really do in film anymore,” Harbour said in an interview with Collider. “We rarely see an indie film where you have an emotional pathos where somebody sees a ghost. This is a palette where you can have demons and ghosts and big creatures and things that are epic, in that way.”
Though neither comics have been mentioned as inspiration for Hellboy, given the announced cast and the film’s original subtitle “Rise of the Blood Queen,” it’s likely elements from the Hellboy: The Wild Hunt limited series and Hellboy: The Storm & The Fury collection will feature prominently. Nimue the Blood Queen and Monaghan both play prominent roles in those two storylines.
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