Pacific Rim could be the movie of the year for geeky film buffs (like us), but does everyone else share our enthusiasm? Guillermo del Toro directed from the script he co-wrote with Travis Beacham, based on a futuristic premise where humankind wages war against giant monsters (via 25-story tall manned robots). Current box office predictions are relatively soft for the $180 million blockbuster, so there is no guarantee that del Toro and Beacham's plans to continue exploring the Pacific Rim universe in future installments will come to fruition.
Most of del Toro's previous films have only demonstrated cult appeal at the box office, which is part of the reason why Hellboy 3 has been set on the back-burner. Today, though, we have encouraging news on that front, as del Toro and the Big Red himself, Ron Perlman, have expressed interest in working alongside Legendary Pictures on the Hellboy trilogy finale (after their positive experience making Pacific Rim together).
While taking a break from the Pacific Rim press tour, del Toro sat down with STYD and told them that he and Perlman had sat down with Legendary head Thomas Tull the previous night:
"I hate giving pieces about it, but last night, we were at dinner and Ron said, 'I would be very happy to do Hellboy again, when are we doing Hellboy 3?' Thomas [Tull] said, 'I would love to see Hellboy 3.' He didn't say he would love to do it he just said he'd like to see it, but today, I'll ask him."
Tull later commented on the report, but was non-commital beyond mentioning that there are rights issues that need to be worked out before Legendary can become involved with Hellboy 3. The studio is getting a divorce from Warner Bros. (after having made films like Man of Steel and Pacific Rim together), which could impact any decision regarding Legendary's acquisition of the Hellboy movie franchise.
Legendary has plans to distinguish itself from the competition (Marvel, WB/DC) in the future, by tackling niche projects like Warcraft - a cinematic adaptation of the World of Warcraft MMORPG from director Duncan Jones (Source Code) - and del Toro's Gothic haunted house film, Crimson Peak. It's Legendary's willingness to place its faith in cult filmmakers, whose visions aren't so commercially-friendly, that makes the studio an ideal choice for Hellboy 3, according to Perlman.
He said as much to STYD, as a followup to del Toro's comments:
"Not just anybody can make this movie. I loved working for Legendary and I know for Guillermo working on Pacific Rim was one of his greatest experiences. The reason I loved working for them is because Guillermo was so happy. I came in six months into the shoot and he seemed as fresh as a daisy, simply because he was working for someone who appreciated and supported his outlandish visions of what he wanted to put on the screen. My immediate, silent wish was, wouldn't it be great if these guys came in and helped resolve the Hellboy series."
The public's confidence that Hellboy 3 will happen suffered a blow earlier this year, when Hellboy comic book creator Mike Mignola admitted that there has not been any progress on the project in some time. A few years back, Mignola expressed concerns about del Toro releasing the final chapter in Big Red's story before he finishes the comic book series. However, since then, Mignola has included certain narrative developments in his ongoing graphic novel that suggest he is now better prepared for the end.
It's too early to tell if the tide will change for Hellboy 3 - from the time when del Toro finished Hellboy II: The Golden Army and assumed it would probably be the last installment - but Perlman has been drumming up interest in the court of public opinion and claims to have even told del Toro that he owes it to the world to finish the Hellboy trilogy.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN'T SEEN HELLBOY II!
If nothing else, I would like to see how Hellboy fulfills - or, rather, does not fulfill - the doomsday prophecy about his destiny, as mentioned by the Angel of Death in the second film (that and find out what Big Red and Liz's twins look like).
UPDATE: Perlman spoke with STYD, about just how impressive the proposed apocalyptic setup for Hellboy 3 is (based on del Toro's pitch):
"[Hellboy 3] needs to be twice as big as Hellboy 1 or Hellboy 2. It's all of these oracles coming home to roost with these apocalyptic things taking place. Guillermo's version of this resolve in the trilogy is epic in scope. Not just anybody can make this movie. It has to be somebody who's no stranger to this sense of scope. For me to do Hellboy 3, it could kill me - in terms of physically demanding, for a guy my age, but it's worth it because anyone who sits and listens to Guillermo's version of how this thing ends is completely seduced. It's so theatrical and compelling and if you liked the first two movies in any way, shape or form, this is the ultimate one-two punch."
Pacific Rim opens in theaters on July 12th, 2013.
We'll keep you up to speed on Hellboy 3 developments as more come our way.