The odyssey of the Hellboy franchise has been a difficult thing to keep track of. The first two films were solid entires and interesting adaptations, but they were Guillermo Del Toro‘s love children, and Ron Perlman seemed born to play the big red anti-hero. Then, when the curtain fell on the sequel, fans of the comic and the films were left wondering just how long it will be until we had ourselves a third entry to round out the trilogy. Those same fanboys are still waiting, and are now stuck in perpetual limbo, clinging to their last vestiges of hope that someone at a studio would be insane enough to give Del Toro $200 million to make a movie that would probably struggle to to break it’s own production budget at the box office. Years have gone by, and no word on the third film until this past year when Del Toro made it pretty clear that it was not going to happen and he was closing the book on his involvement in that franchise.
Now here we are, 2017 and apparently, rumors of Hellboy’s death have been greatly exaggerated. The creator of the Hellboy comics, Mike Mignola, has officially come out and announced that a Hellboy reboot is actually on it’s way, with director Neil Marshall (The Descent) in talks to helm and Stranger Things David Harbour, attached to take on the title role. Mignola has reportedly co-written the reboot’s script, along with Andrew Cosby and Christopher Golden.
Del Toro had recently come out to advise that a third film in his universe was not happening and this explains why. The reboot has to have been something that has been in the planning stages for quite some time now. Del Toro was never going to get the budget he felt he needed and was not planning to budge, but the studios and Mignola believed that there was some profit to be had with this character and have now decided to move forward with an R-rated version, at a far lower budget, to both minimize risk and capitalize on the newly found fondness for hard R comic book adaptations. Per THR, Millennium is in talks to distribute the film instead of Dark Horse, which produced the first two features.
Harbour signing on the play the hellish being is not necessarily a shock, given that his star has been on the rise since Stranger Things dropped last year. He seems to be mentioned for every major role, most recently, Cable in Deadpool 2. Marshall has shown great promise in the past with The Descent being a horror masterpiece, but hasn’t done much since, save for a slew of Game of Thrones episodes and a whole bunch of other television, but nothing in the movie sphere for quite some time and Hellboy would easily be his most high profile film to date.
On the whole, this seems like a reasonable call for the studio to make. Del Toro, while pure in intentions, was asking for an unreasonable amount of money to make a sequel to a movie that only made $160 million. Harbour seems like solid casting, he has the profile to pull of the role, and has a sort of gruffness about him that can certianly stand toe to toe with Perlman, but he does seem to lack the intimidation factor and overt presence that Perlman brought to the role. This should be interesting, and the R-rating will unchain the team and allow them to make the film they want to make, but only time will tell if a Del Toro-less Hellboy is a good or bad move.