Guillermo del Toro and actor Ron Perlman first brought Hellboy to the big screen in 2004, and their take on the sarcastic half-demon working for the government is still a favorite among fans. (Of course, it was also the only silver screen take). But with a fresh reboot coming out April 12 from Dog Soldiers director Neil Marshall and new star David Harbour (Stranger Things), Hellboy fans will get a new view on Big Red and his day job stopping supernatural forces. But will Hellboy get a sequel that continues this new variation on Mike Mignola's original comics?
del Toro's films took lots of liberties with their source material, especially Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008), which was an entirely new script with a storyline that never appeared in comics form. The new Hellboy, on the other hand, is specifically based on the original comic arc The Wild Hunt, which itself is part of a larger story leading to the rise of and confrontation with the Blood Queen. Nerdist has an excellent breakdown of the comics involved.
Collider reports that producer Lloyd Levin told journalists during a set visit that sequels are already being planned, albeit in a "vague sense." He continued, "Not in a No. 2 will be this and No. 3 will be that, but you can tell yourself. If this starts with The Wild Hunt, the track is laid from there in the comic books where you could go.”
Levin has been with the Hellboy franchise from the beginning, when del Toro and Perlman were still involved. He's been championing the latest incarnation, which garnered an R rating instead of the previous films' PG-13, as truer to its source. "The comic books themselves are R-rated. There’s buckets of blood, there’s beheadings, there’s an intensity that equates naturally and organically to the R rating," he said, per Collider.
So if fans want to figure out what any potential sequels might look like, they should return to that same material. With Hellboy boxing demons in Tijuana before heading back to London in the new movie's opening scene, there are already hints of the storyline Hellboy In Mexico. The house walking around on chicken legs that you see in the trailer is based on the classic folklore home of Russian witch Baba Yaga, who Hellboy runs into in the comic arc Hellboy: Darkness Calls.
So it's pretty clear where sequels will go... if they happen. Clearly Levin, who's been involved not only in the original films and this new take, but also the two straight-to-DVD animated Hellboy films, is in it for the long haul if there's more Hellboy to be made. But film projects live or die based on box office. Reportedly, the reason del Toro never got the OK for a third Hellboy himself was because the projected budget was too high, and The Golden Army didn't make enough in ticket sales to justify putting in the investment.
If this new reboot overcomes fan wariness and it turns out that hewing closer to the gore of the comics brings in a higher take, then it's likely there'll be a second Hellboy with the new crew in place. That's a lot of 'ifs', but one thing Big Red's always had is a chance in Hell.