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On the surface, Stranger Things' Chief Jim Hopper and Hellboy don't seem to be two characters you'd connect together. But now, thanks to actor David Harbour being the face of both parts, the association is a little easier to make. As the actor himself has pointed out, there's actually not too much difference between the two characters when you really think about it. Harbour made the case for this pairing with the following remarks:
I would not be doing Hellboy if it wasn't for Stranger Things, no. I would not. A lot of people responded to it. It's got a lot of elements -- Hopper is a very complicated character and has a lot of levels. And he is heroic, but he's messed up, and I think they want this for this Hellboy, as well.
Put into the preceding context, Hellboy and Stranger Things do have their fair share of likable anti-heroism. Though the damaged parts of Chief Hopper are more humanized than that of Hellboy, considering Hopper is dealing with alcoholism and an addiction to prescription medication, and the Mike Mingola creation had to deal with being born to bring about the apocalypse. But beyond their respective circumstances, these heroes do seem to have a thread that connects them. David Harbour continued to draw the parallels between these characters in his continued remarks to Yahoo:
[Hellboy] is very rich. I think the films did a certain thing, the comics do a certain thing. Hellboy is kind of a neurotic, messed-up individual who's destined for a horrible fate. He's destined to become the beast of the apocalypse. Whenever he shows up and does the right thing, people throw beers at him and show up with pitchforks and he still manages to do the right thing. I think it's funny and it's sweet and it's weird, and hopefully I can bring that to it as well.
If that doesn't hit the nail of what connects Jim Hopper and Hellboy on the head, then it's hard to tell what does, frankly. As much as I love the Guillermo del Toro films that contained Ron Perlman's interpretation of Hellboy, it was always easy to identify with the character. However, this new project sounds like it's approaching not only a darker storyline, but also a more complex character we're used to seeing in a more traditionally heroic light.
More importantly, David Harbour's recipe for what we should expect out of the new Neil Marshall directed Hellboy proves that a reboot of the property isn't merely a useless "reimagining" that ruins the source material. Rather, it sounds like this new version of the B.P.R.D's adventures will blaze its own path, rather than just retread the material put forth by the two films that have come before. Ultimately, this will leave everyone happy, as fans of the del Toro and Perlman era can enjoy those films, while fans who felt the source material wasn't honored very well will hopefully be able to enjoy the new version.
Though, to be honest, Harbour's interview now has me just a bit more excited about the new adventures ahead. For now though, we'll have to settle for the continued adventures of Chief Jim Hopper, as Stranger Things season 2 will be on Netflix this fall. Meanwhile, the Hellboy reboot is in the early days of planning, so we're not sure when we'll expect to revisit the world of Mike Mingola's comic legend.