Hellboy star David K. Harbour says the big screen reboot of creator Mike Mignola's comic book creation is "not really an origin story movie." After months of anticipation filled with casting notices (including Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane) and other bits of information about Hellboy, more details are finally starting to surface about the reboot as the film gets ready to go into production this fall.
Of course, the first major bit of news came in surprising announcements by Mignola in May that not only was there going to be another Hellboy movie, but that it was being reimagined by Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall, with Stranger Things star Harbour playing the titular character.
While additional details from the script and character listings from Hellboy have now uncovered, fans haven't been privy to much else in the way of the story for the reboot, including its launching point. However, in an interview with Collider, Harbor says the reboot will forgo the origins route (which is how director Guillermo del Toro told his version of the story in his first Hellboy film) and hop into action in same way that a classic cinematic character played by Harrison Ford did in 1981. He says:
"There is something of [his origin], but it’s not really an origin story movie. We kind of pick up the movie like we’re running and gunning. We do have a little bit of stuff where we show stuff, but it really is a story and you just drop in with this guy. In a way, I feel like that’s kind of what Indiana Jones was. You start with him stealing the idol, but also you do go back to the university and you understand he’s an archeologist, but this is just a guy who goes and steals idols and fights Nazis and wants to steal the Arc of the Covenant. But you never go back when he’s a kid and you’re like, ‘How did he become Indiana Jones?’ It’s like no, we accept that this is Indiana Jones and I think that’s what our story does too. You accept that there’s this half-demon guy running around the world and being a paranormal investigator and solving crimes and also dealing with his own issues at the same time.”
It should be noted that Harbour clearly isn't trying to compare the new Hellboy film to any of the Indiana Jones movies, he's merely trying to illustrate the sort of style the film is taking on to set up his film's narrative. Hellboy will no doubt will have some action scenes like the Indiana Jones chapters (and a myriad of other films), but don't expect the film to play out like the adventure serials that inspired Steven Spielberg and George Lucas nearly four decades ago.
For Mignola, Marshall and all the other creatives involved, skipping the origins route is the right, if not essential way to go with the reboot if they're going to separate themselves from the beloved version that del Toro gave fans in 2004. Along with the word that Hellboy is going to take on "mature themes" and be a darker and more gruesome R-rated film, fans were probably already suspecting they were going to get something different; but now they can be relieved that they're not going to see the same origins story retold again, a la the film the Spider-Man, Superman and Fantastic Four films. That was one of the most refreshing thing about Spider-Man: Homecoming, where Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland) was plugged into an existing narrative.
With the promise of more Spider-Man sequels, fans will no doubt get the opportunity to see bits of Spidey's past in future films - and in all likelihood, that's what Mignola and company have planned for Hellboy, too.