Movies

20 Years After Guillermo Del Toro’s First Hellboy Movie, I Think There Are 3 Ways The Trilogy Could Still Be Completed

I can’t believe I’m actually about to type the following sentence, but here it goes. Director Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy has officially celebrated its 20th anniversary. It feels like only yesterday that the world fell in love with Ron Perlman’s incarnation of Mike Mignola’s legendary Dark Horse Comics character. But with my memories of two of the best 2000s movies comes the resurfacing of a long-standing bone I have to politely pick with Hollywood.

It’s been two decades after that first movie’s release, and almost 16 years after Hellboy II: The Golden Army left us with an unresolved cliffhanger. After all that time, despite the little tidbits we’ve seen released into the world, I still want to know what happens next.

While there are several reasons a live-action incarnation doesn’t seem to be in the cards, there are also three ways that this trilogy could be completed. So let’s celebrate Hellboy’s past by trying to give him a future, shall we?

Ron Perlman stands shocked with Selma Blair behind him in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

(Image credit: Universal)

Hellboy II: The Golden Army’s Massive (Unresolved) Cliffhanger

Dear readers, you know I love to give history lessons before launching right to the point. Hellboy II: The Golden Army definitely requires such treatment, as Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola left us with a whopper of a middle act to a potential trilogy.

On the brighter side of things, Hellboy (Ron Perlman) and Liz (Selma Blair) were about to become parents to twins! So, like any expectant parents would do in their position, they resigned from the B.P.R.D. and looked ahead to the future. Unfortunately, the road ahead was destined to be full of heartbreak.

We learned as much when The Angel of Death gave this warning to Liz upon her request to spare Hellboy’s life. That plea came with the following warning, posed to Liz as she weighed the decision to restore her love back to life:

…you should know it is his destiny to bring about the destruction of the Earth. Not now, not tomorrow, but soon enough. … The time will come and you, my dear, will suffer more than anyone.

If that’s not a Guillermo del Toro movie prophecy, I don’t know what is. And if the world were just and right, Hellboy III would already be on our home entertainment shelves, celebrating over a decade of existence. Which brings us to the disappointing reality that this del Toro driven threequel never happened.

Ron Perlman points angrily in the middle of a castle setting in Hellboy.

(Image credit: Sony / Revolution Studios)

Why Hellboy III Never Happened

The flat-out, clear as crystal answer as to why Hellboy III never happened is, quite simply, money. Upon its 2008 release, Hellboy II raked in $168.3 million worldwide on an estimated production budget of $85 million.

Without knowing any of the complicated math that probably factored into how the film “really” did according to Universal Pictures, Hellboy III was never greenlit. That failure was also attributed to the fact that unlike Hellboy, the home video market wasn’t strong enough to buoy Hellboy II into sequel-ready status.

While the Academy Award-winning director would keep hope alive in his heart, Guillermo del Toro cited lack of studio funding as the big reason the series never finished. Compounded by little bits of plot revealed by the co-writer/director, as well as Ron Perlman himself, the loss of this project has stung for some time. Which leads me to the three options that could be taken to remedy that heartbreak.

Dark Horse Comics artwork of Hellboy from The Crooked Man storyline

(Image credit: Dark Horse Comics)

Option 1: A Dark Horse Comic Adaptation Of Hellboy III’s Script

It has to be admitted that we’ll probably never see a live-action Hellboy III. Despite winning two Academy Awards and bringing home the gold for movies like The Shape of Water and Netflix’s Pinocchio adaptation, Guillermo del Toro still gets rejections from the studio system. If the man can’t get the suits to approve an adaptation of In the Mountains of Madness with Tom Cruise starring, a third Hellboy movie isn’t exactly an easy sell.

So why not make Hellboy III into a comic adaptation? Though creator Mike Mignola rejected that notion initially, I’d like to think the success of things like Batman ‘89 and Superman ‘78 might convince him that the public would be have room in its hearts for a limited run Hellboy III adaptation, alongside whatever stories he may want to tell. But let’s say for now that this option is off the table. That’s fine, as there are two more ways to potentially un-cancel this apocalypse.

Selma Blair and Ron Perlman share an embrace in a tunnel in Hellboy.

(Image credit: Sony / Revolution Studios)

Option 2: Hellboy III Could Become An Audio Drama

Audio dramas can make pretty much anything possible. The world of Doctor Who has become richer as a result, William Gibson’s draft of Alien 3 saw itself become an Audible Original with Michael Biehn and Lance Henriksen participating, and the world of Halo even broadened its horizons with some seriously fantastic series. Hellboy III would very easily fit into a world like this; especially since there were a handful of animated spinoffs that did bring back key cast members.

Without having to worry about the gap in-between sequels, anyone who wants to return for Hellboy III could very easily do so. And though Ron Perlman would easily return to Hellboy for Guillermo del Toro, an audio drama version of this story could only make that deal easier to seal, especially since the physicality of the project would be greatly reduced.

This would especially be important for actor Selma Blair, as living with Multiple Sclerosis has made physical performances more difficult to execute. And honestly, anything that makes it more likely for Ms. Blair to consider returning as Liz is a win in my book, as she’s just as important to the Hellboy family as Perlman and Doug Jones are. It wouldn’t be as emotionally devastating if Selma Blair didn’t at least have the option to close out her character’s arc.

The Golden Army stored away in Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

(Image credit: Universal)

Option 3: Guillermo Del Toro Makes A Animated Hellboy III Film

As of late, Guillermo del Toro has become more and more fascinated with the world of stop-motion animation. While he’s continued to work on live-action films, like his adaptation of Frankenstein for Netflix, there’s a potential that he might eventually focus solely on animation as his medium of choice. That would be yet another fantastic venue for Hellboy III to finally become a reality.

The advantages of an audio drama would be present in any sort of animated prospects, while at the same time allowing del Toro’s visual flair to remain the picture as well. Frankly, I think this is the best option out of these three, as it’s the closest one could hope to get to Hellboy’s story closing out in a form as beautiful as its predecessors.

Maybe even more so, considering the wild things animation, stop-motion or otherwise, can do for a picture like this. And considering we saw the potential for this sort of picture through Hellboy II: The Golden Army’s absolutely gorgeous stop-motion flashback, it’s not that big of a stretch.

Honestly, if Ron Perlman isn’t done hounding Guillermo del Toro about making Hellboy III happen, then we fans should be there to back that call. 20 years ago, I fell in love with Mike Mignola’s creation as it was adapted for the big screen, and its sequel only made me even more of a fan. It’s time to put the Hellboy series to rest, and not by giving up on its conclusion, but by seeing it through.

Friends, if you want to take a beautiful trip down memory lane, you can easily stream both of Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy movies. At the time of this publication, both the 2004 original and Hellboy II: The Golden Army are both available to watch through the power of Tubi. So free, ad-supported streaming is all you need at the moment to reminisce about the B.P.R.D’s cinematic glory in hopes to inspire the powers that be to finish the story.

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