A new Hellboy movie may be hitting screens in the near future, but it sadly won’t be the third film in filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s trilogy comic adaptation. Instead, Hellboy comics creator Mike Mingola has announced that a Hellboy reboot is now in the works with Stranger Things star David Harbour taking over the lead role that Ron Perlman filled in del Toro’s two previous live-action adaptations. The intention is for this reboot to be Rated R, with The Descent and Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall in talks to take the helm. Mingola co-wrote the Hellboy reboot script with Andrew Cosby and Christopher Golden. Per THR, Millennium is in talks to spearhead the new adaptation with producers Larry Gordon and Lloyd Levin, with Dark Horse Entertainment also producing.
Del Toro first brought Hellboy to the big screen with a 2004 live-action film that had a so-so box office return but soared on home video, leading to del Toro’s lavish and fantasy-laden sequel Hellboy: The Golden Army. That film scored $160 million at the box office, but due to the cost of the films, greenlighting a third movie had proved difficult. Del Toro looked into the prospects of making Hellboy 3 earlier this year, spurred by fan interest online, but after promising to sit down with Perlman and Mingola to discuss Hellboy 3, del Toro subsequently updated that the sequel would 100% not be happening.
And now we know why. THR notes that del Toro, Dark Horse Entertainment, Levin, and rights-holder Gordon explored Hellboy 3 possibilities, but del Toro’s wish for an even bigger budget than the first two films proved to be a stumbling block. Indeed, del Toro and Perlman had previously teased that the third film would find Hellboy fulfilling his prophecy as a herald of the apocalypse, and thus a larger canvas was necessary to fully execute del Toro’s vision. In the end, the producers decided to reboot the property instead, which is likely why del Toro could confidently say Hellboy 3 is dead.
Harbour’s profile has been on the rise since Stranger Things and indeed the actor was in the running for the prime role of Cable in Deadpool 2. Marshall, meanwhile, has been attached to a litany of projects in the wake of his 2005 horror film The Descent. He gained even more notoriety for helming the memorable Game of Thrones episodes “Blackwater” and “The Watchers on the Wall” and has since helmed key installments of Westworld, Hannibal, and Constantine. He’s currently filming Netflix’s rebooted Lost in Space series, but Hellboy would mark his most high-profile film project yet.
While I’m certainly interested to see what Marshall’s take on the character is, it’s a shame we’ll never get to see del Toro complete his trilogy. His previous Hellboy films were full of color and passion, and they certainly set a high bar for this impending reboot.