Hellboy is getting a reboot. Hallelujah. Creator Mike Mignola announced that the new film will not only be R rated, but will be directed by The Descent director Neil Marshall and is set to star David Harbour of Stranger Things.
The reboot will give the team behind it the chance to refresh the franchise and – presumably – start building a cinematic universe all its own. With that in mind and taking a little inspiration from the comics, here are five possible storylines for the Hellboy reboot.
The B.P.R.D. Team Up
Why not kick off the rebooted franchise with a film bringing together the agents of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense together? They could team up to take on a powerful adversary. Something akin to, say, Suicide Squad or The Avengers. This could pave the way for a series of spin-offs and solo adventures for the gang, which includes Hellboy, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, Johann Krauss and Roger, among others in both the enhanced talents taskforce and the bureau’s human arm. They could also draft in characters from the extended Dark Horse universe, like Ghost, The Lobster and Barb Wire, and get fans really excited about the possibilities within a new Dark Horse franchise.
Hellboy’s First Mission
The year in the comics is 1952, and Hellboy has spent eight years under the guardianship of Professor Trevor Bruttenholm, who took the half-demon youngster under his wing. But Hellboy is now a fully grown adult, albeit one with little life experience. To see Hellboy head out on his first mission would kickstart Hellboy’s story with the B.P.R.D. from the beginning – and where better to start? The story involves a serious of baffling deaths in Brazil, apparently at the hands of a superhuman creature. It also introduces Herman von Klempt, a Nazi scientist who takes the form of a head in a jar. Naturally.
King Arthur Tie-In
Never mind Hellboy’s surrogate father, a dive into the Excalibur legend would reveal all about his mother, Sarah Hughes’, heritage and shed some light on Hellboy’s back story not previously explored in Guillermo del Toro’s films.
In the comic The Wild Hunt, Morgan le Fay – she of Arthurian legend – pops up and tells Hellboy that his witch mother is the last living female descendant of Mordred, Morgan’s son with King Arthur. Which means that Hellboy is the “rightful king of Britain”. Of course.
Exploring this storyline would capitalise on renewed interest in Arthurian lore, due to be explored on screen in upcoming films King Arthur, Transformers: The Last Knight and The Dark Tower. It would also introduce formidable villain the Queen of Blood to the screen.
Beast of the Apocalypse
Back in 2014, Guillermo del Toro, who directed both Hellboy and Hellboy II, was still fielding questions about a possible Hellboy 3. In a Reddit AMA, he revealed details of the story. His idea was for the plot to revolve around Hellboy coming to terms with his destiny as the beast of the Apocalypse – the prophecy that he will bring about the end of the world. Del Toro said that the story would see Hellboy having to embrace his destiny in order to “vanquish the foe” and “defend humanity”. This would lead to him becoming a much darker being.
Ron Perlman, who has up to now played Hellboy in the movies, backed this up in an interview with Empire in 2015. He added that Hellboy and Liz’s twins, the babies she was pregnant with at the end of Hellboy II, were going to be opposites –one “angelic” and the other “corrupt”.
It’s unlikely that this new film would follow this story since it’s been declared a reboot and there’s no word on del Toro’s or Perlman’s involvement – but it would be remiss not to include it!
The Third Wish
If Neil Marshall is keen to explore the ‘Beast of the Apocalypse’ angle in some depth, how about picking up the story from The Third Wish? This comic book story focuses on Hellboy’s torment over his harbinger of doom status, and sees him head to Africa to get advice from a witch doctor.
The most enticing detail about this plot is that it involves Hellboy heading underwater, taking us to new places visually that Hellboy hasn’t yet explored on screen. It would allow for some stunning special effects and introduce mermaid-witch villain The Bog Roosh. Bonus.
There’s no word yet on a proposed release date for the Hellboy reboot but stay tuned for updates.