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Hellboy Creator Turned Down a Comic Book Version of Guillermo del Toro’s Unmade Third Film

Ron Perlman in Hellboy (2004)
With the massive failure that was the 2019 Hellboy reboot, there has been a lot of talk about Guillermo del Toro’s two Hellboy films (one in 2004, and The Golden Army in 2008) and how they managed to stay true to creator Mike Mignola’s creation, but also did their own thing. In a recent interview with Mignola on Screen Rant, he talked about the possibility of the third Hellboy movie being translated into comics.

“I think del Toro mentioned it to me once, and I said no,” Mignola said. “I think, let the comics be the comics. Comics are confusing enough for people. Let’s not have two different versions of the Hellboy comic out there. My vote would be (to say) no.” Mike Mignola did cowrite drafts of the Hellboy 3 script and went on to consult with the reboot once it was decided to take the franchise in a new direction.

At the time, what excited Mignola about the reboot was that it took things directly from the comics. “I will say, having been on set on the other two movies [by director Guillermo Del Toro], that was the first time I walked on set and saw something and said, ‘Holy s**t, that’s right out of the comic!’” Mignola told IGN. “I’m real excited and I’m very grateful that they wanted to really look at the comics, and without being spot-on accurate to the comic, they really did draw so heavily from the comic, design-wise, story-wise. I’m very lucky that all the right people wanted to do the right things.”

While I totally feel like Mignola has respect for del Toro and the direction in which he took those movies, it goes without saying that those movies aren’t a panel-for-panel adaptations of the comics, although they pull characters and strings of storylines from the source material. That being said, I get why Mignola would vote to keep those two worlds separate.

I’m Team Animated Film myself, but I’m just a humble animation fan.

Plus, there was little involvement that Mignola had with Neil Marshall. “Well, I never … I mean, I never really had much of a conversation with Neil. I only met him once or twice, I guess, before filming began,” he explained to Vulture after the reboot came out. After all, he doesn’t own the movie rights. “I mean, I could’ve said, ‘I don’t want you to do it.’ It doesn’t mean they necessarily would’ve listened to me. Thank God we never had to have that conversation.”

During a Reddit AMA in July 2014, Guillermo del Toro said, “Creatively, I would love to make it. Creatively. But it is proven almost impossible to finance. Not from my side, but from the studio side.”

“We have gone through basically every studio and asked for financing, and they are not interested,” del Toro continued. “I think that the first movie made its budget back, and a little bit of profit, but then it was very, very big on video and DVD. The story repeated itself with the second already, it made its money back at the box office, but a small margin of profit in the release of the theatrical print, but was very, very big on DVD and video. Sadly now from a business point of view all the studios know is that you don’t have that safety net of the DVD and video, so they view the project as dangerous.”

That didn’t stop the film from being rebooted and … not even making its budget back. (It ultimately made $40.8 million worldwide against a $50 million budget.) So, we may not get the finished version of del Toro’s story, or a good reboot, but there’s always the comics.

(via IndieWire, image: Columbia Pictures/Universal Pictures)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.