Legendary writer/artist Mike Mignola revealed on social media today the surprising news that his most famous creation, Hellboy, will be coming back to the big screen, albeit in a rebooted version with a new director and new star in the title role.
Mignola posted on his Facebook page that Neil Marshall, director of “The Descent” and “Dog Soldiers,” will be helming a Rated R reboot with David Harbour (“Stranger Things,” “The Newsroom”) set to don the red make up and giant fist of the title character.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Hellboy has been adapted to film. In 2004, Guillermo del Toro directed “Hellboy”, with Ron Perlman in the title role. The film was a modest success, grossing nearly $100 million against a $66 million budget. It garnered some critical acclaim, and amassed a cult following based on Perlman’s excellence in the title role and del Toro’s strong command of visuals, obvious love of the material, and a strong aesthetic. The film’s growing appreciation as a cult hit led to a sequel, once again with del Toro and Perlman, 2008’s “Hellboy II: The Golden Army.” The second film was bigger hit than the first, raking in $160 million against its $85 million budget, and earning even greater critical acclaim.
Ever since the second film, both del Toro and Perlman have continued to express interest in retuning to Hellboy, with Perlman going so far as to don the costume and makeup on subsequent occasions, most memorably to surprise a young fan stricken with a serious illness. The news that the film franchise is to be rebooted with a new team has been met with both excitement by fans, but also with some complaints that they aren’t quite ready to let go of the idea of del Toro and Perlman’s return.
One fan on Mignola’s page states in a Facebook comment:
I’m sorry but as much as I love Hellboy, and in an alternate world this would be great, but I can’t support this. Guillermo Del Toro and Ron Pearlman have both actively been interested in the last year at bringing Hellboy back for a third film, and instead we are getting a reboot? Let them end the trilogy with the groundwork that was laid, instead of never giving the fans the resolution of a final act. Hell even make Hellboy 3 animated (the previous two animated films were pretty good, and had the original cast) to wrap up the original story before rebooting.
and another commenting:
This BS makes me angry! I want Hellboy 3 with Ron Perlman directed by Guillermo del Toro to finish off the trilogy Guillermo del Toro had in mind…. So it’s just going to rehash the details we already know like they do with so many other superhero movies when they reboot them? Sickening…..
But there were also fans that response more positively to the news:
Great news! I love Del Toro and Perlman, but a lot of things were wrong in the franchise , like the weird romance of Hellboy and Liz Sherman ( that never happen in the comics) and the poor characterization of Abe Sapien. Now they have the opportunity to do things right.
So, will fans ultimately come around to the idea of a Hellboy franchise without del Toro and Perlman? Will either of those guys support this new attempt to tell his story on screen? As with all things, fan outrage may die down with our first look at footage or Harbour in make up, but for now, while it will be nice to see Hellboy back on screen, it remains to be seen if the fan base that embraced the previous films will as easily throw their arms around this rebooted version.