Hellboy creator Mike Mignola reveals that the reboot was originally tied to the first two films created by director Guillermo del Toro. Mignola, of course, dropped a bombshell on the comic book movie world in May when he announced that an R-rated reboot of the movie series Hellboy was being produced starring Stranger Things star David Harbour as the demon antihero.
Mignola also announced that Game of Thrones helmer Neil Marshall would be directing the film under the working title Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen. Shaking things up even more, screenwriter Andrew Cosby noted that the reboot would be “darker” and “more gruesome” than del Toro’s movies. News of the reboot came only a few months after del Toro, who was inspired by impassioned fans to find a way finish his trilogy starring Ron Perlman as the titular character, explored his options only to conclude that his third Hellboy film “100 percent" wouldn't happen.
With pre-production on the film underway and Rise of the Blood Queen set to go into production this fall, Mignola is revealing that the latest Hellboy movie was meant to be a continuation of del Toro's Hellboy films. Mignola explained in an interview with Nerdist that he initially tried to get something going with del Toro, but the project didn't come together. He says:
“I would’ve loved to see Guillermo do his third movie and finish that story. But over the years it became very clear that wasn’t going to happen. About three years ago the producers, the screenwriter Andrew Cosby, and I all started working on this new story. Del Toro didn’t want to have anything to do with it, he wasn’t going to direct. He was offered to be a producer, and Ron [Perlman] wouldn’t do it without Guillermo.”
Even without del Toro's participation, Mignola says the original idea for the new Hellboy film was to keep it in the universe the director created – until he realized Marshall could set the character off on a whole new path. He says:
“So we originally started trying to tie it to the del Toro universe and continue those movies. But once we had Neil Marshall, we thought, ‘Why are we going to try and continue that universe?’ Because a del Toro movie is a del Toro movie, and you don’t want to try and hand a del Toro movie to someone else. Especially someone as great as Neil Marshall. So that’s when it went from being this continuation to being a reboot. It’s exciting to have another director. It’s exciting to take another path, to take that material and give it another leaning.”
While Mignola appears disappointed that del Toro wasn't able to complete his Hellboy trilogy, he seems pretty energized by the prospects that Marshall is bringing to the cinematic reinvention of the character. In this day and age, reboots – as much ire as they draw from fans of the original inceptions of the characters on the big screen – are a big part of the business, and it sounds like Mignola was left with few options since it appeared that he and del Toro came to a creative impasse.
Besides, it's been nine years since the release of del Toro's Hellboy II: The Golden Army, so more than enough time has passed to reintroduce the character with a fresh new spin. Better yet, del Toro says he has no hard feelings about the reboot, and following Harbour's meeting with Perlman, Mignola says that the reboot star "is super excited about being Hellboy and he wants to make sure he gets it right."