Even since Guillermo del Toro resigned as director of The Hobbit, fans of his Hellboy films have been wondering if development on Hellboy 3 could begin in the near future.
The devilish superhero - who is played by Ron Perlman - last graced the big screen in 2008 with Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Despite being at times outright silly (albeit intentionally) in tone, that pic hinted that a dark fate awaited its titular hero - and del Toro knows exactly what it is.
"I would love to do it," del Toro says of Hellboy 3, "but the heartbreak for me is that I know how it ends and I don't know if I want to see that ending. But I would love to do it."
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has addressed the ultimate fate of the character before and admits that his plans for the comic book clash with del Toro's idea for a third film [SLIGHT SPOILER ALERT]:
"The problem is, what del Toro's talked about to me is that 'Hellboy 3' would be the end of Hellboy... My version of Hellboy in the comics is a finite story, but it's going to take me 15 years to get to that ending. If [del Toro] makes 'Hellboy 3' and it's the death of Hellboy, I'm left doing the comic going, 'But I'm not done yet.'"
Hellboy aficionados are quite familiar with the significant difference in design and atmosphere between Mignola's comic books and del Toro's film franchise. The hand-drawn incarnation of the hero is an introverted loner whose brushes with the world of the supernatural tend to weigh heavier on his mind afterwards - as opposed to Pearlman's gung-ho, beer-chuggin' warrior and lover of Barry Manilow from the movies.
Both versions of the character are interesting and entertaining in their own right, but the melancholic ending del Toro seemingly has in mind sounds more appropriate for the books, not the movies. A bittersweet conclusion could still work for the film franchise, but it would be difficult to pull off.
Del Toro is currently set to team up with James Cameron on a long-expected adaptation of the H.P. Lovecraft novel At the Mountains of Madness. With his name already attached to several other projects in development, del Toro may not have the opportunity to work on the concluding chapter to his Hellboy trilogy for awhile.
Whenever del Toro does get to work on Hellboy 3, it will be interesting to see just what he has in mind for the big red guy's final adventure.