[Update: Lionsgate has now officially confirmed the previously-reported Hellboy release date.]
Lionsgate has officially announced that the Hellboy movie reboot will hit U.S. theaters on January 11, 2019. Formerly titled Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, the project is being co-written by Hellboy comic book creator Mike Mignola and will star David Harbour (aka. Chief Hopper from Stranger Things) as Big Red himself, opposite Resident Evil's own Milla Jovovich as the dangerous Blood Queen. Ian McShane (American Gods) also costars in the movie as Professor Trevor Bruttenholm (aka. Professor Broom), Hellboy's father figure and mentor at the supernatural monster-hunting Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense.
While the project was originally going to serve as a partial continuation of the Hellboy movie universe established by filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (with the 2004 Hellboy and its 2008 sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army), the connection to del Toro's Hellboy films was dropped after Neil Marshall was brought on to direct - at least, according to Mignola. Marshall's vision for the Hellboy franchise is described as being darker and otherwise more "mature" than del Toro's approach, as further evidenced by the comic book film's intended R-Rating.
Marshall's Hellboy currently has its January 2019 theatrical release date all to itself and will arrive one week ahead of a very different type of superhero movie - namely Glass, M. Night Shyamalan's followup to his films Unbreakable and Split. Although Hellboy will have a relatively larger budget than Split did, Marshall's reboot is only expected to cost a moderate amount to produce (by Hollywood standards, that is) and will aim to become an early 2019 hit through positive word of mouth, similar to what Split managed to do at the beginning of this year.
Whereas del Toro's Hellboy movies focus heavily on monster world-building and the supernatural fantasy elements of Mignola's original comic books, Marshall's film reboot is gearing up to embrace more of the horror aspects of its source material. Marshall himself is a respected veteran of the creature horror genre, having directed such cult B-movies as Dog Soldiers and the touchstone 2005 cave exploration horror/thriller The Descent.
Marshall's more recent work has largely been on the small screen, though even then he has often found himself venturing into the realms of horror and the supernatural, on TV shows like Constantine and Hannibal. With Marshall leading the charge and a talented cast that is further rounded out by Hawaii Five-0 alum Daniel Dae Kim, American Honey breakout star Sasha Lane and Penelope Mitchell (another supernatural/horror genre veteran, thanks to her efforts on the TV series Hemlock Grove and The Vampire Diaries), the Hellboy reboot is shaping up to not only be a very different beast than del Toro's Hellboy films, but a worthy superhero adventure in its own right.
While fans of del Toro's take on the character will always have to wonder just what his version of Hellboy III would have looked like, it will nevertheless be nice to see Big Red back on the big screen - and fighting things that go bump in the night, once again.
- Hellboy (2019) release date: Apr 12, 2019