If a sequel to this year's Hellboy would have happened, the character Abe Sapien would have been very different. Abraham Sapien is an ally of Hellboy as well as a fellow member of The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense. The character was played by Doug Jones in Guillermo del Toro's two Hellboy movies but was absent from the recent reboot.
Fans were hoping to see Jones return to his character in Hellboy III, but unfortunately, del Toro never got the opportunity to finish his trilogy. Instead, Hellboy was given an R-rated reboot starring David Harbour from Stranger Things. Despite director Neil Marshall's best efforts, Hellboy was a massive failure both financially and critically since it flopped at the box office and received some truly scathing reviews. Since its release, Harbour has admitted the flaws of the movie and suggested that Hellboy won't get any sequels. That being said, if fans would have gotten a Hellboy 2, it would have introduced a very different Abe.
When talking with Comicbook, makeup artist Joel Harlow (who worked on Hellboy) revealed that Abe would have have been very different in their sequel. Abe was teased towards the end of the film when his hand slams on the inside of a fish tank, but that was all fans saw of the character. Harlow's full explanation of what they had planned can be read below:
"The unfortunate thing is that the movie did not do very well and if it had, we would have explored Abe Sapien again. There were actually a lot of creatures coming in potential sequels. For this one, we get a glimpse at him at the very end with that teaser with his hand but if we had done the entire character, first of all, it would be vastly different from the other films, more thug like, and we wouldn't have even have gone with that hand you see at the end of the film. We would have designed something from scratch. That's one of the ones that, because I have an affection for fish people and fish characters, would have been really fun to work on but alas, no."
While del Toro's two films and Marshall's film both feature the Right Hand of Doom, the directors' approaches were both very different. Marshall's Hellboy was very faithful to the comics but failed to make an impression on fans. Del Toro's two films weren't as faithful to the comics but did very well with fans and critics. That being said, Abe was one element of del Toro's film that stuck to the source material. In fact, Jones' advice to the next Abe Sapien actor was to simply know the comic history of the character.
Even though Hellboy more than likely will not be getting a sequel, it's hard to not wonder what Harlow's take on Abe would have been. Harlow's work with makeup has previously won him an Oscar for Star Trek and the makeup in Hellboy was one of the few highlights in the movie. Having a "thug-like" Abe may have not gone over well with Hellboy comic fans, but it likely would have at least aroused their curiosity.