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It’s been over a decade since we last saw Hellboy in a theatrical setting, and this time around, the protagonist is being played by Stranger Things star David Harbour. Naturally, the new Hellboy movie, like the previous two movies, is pulling from the source material by Mike Mignola, but as a reboot, it also needs to distinguish itself from its predecessors. Regarding Hellboy himself, Harbour noted that his version of the character isn’t quite as sure he’s one of the good guys. Harbour explained:
[Perlman] does something quite extraordinary in those films that is very specific to him, and I did not want to imitate that in any way. In our movie Hellboy’s younger. He’s rougher. He’s much more of a teenager. He’s really struggling with the idea of whether or not he’s a good person.
It’s rare in the Hellboy mythology to find a demon who’s willing to protect humanity, and thankfully, Hellboy is one of those few. Ron Perlman’s Hellboy certainly dealt with various issues over his two-movie run, and Hellboy II: The Golden Army did tease the character’s destiny to become the World Destroyer, but for the most part, he was comfortable being a force for good in the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. Obviously Harbour’s Hellboy will also be fighting the forces of evil in this upcoming movie, but judging by David Harbour’s comment to Empire, he’ll have to deal with whether or not he’s truly good, which could pave the way for some of his inner darkness to make its way to the surface.
It’s also interesting that David Harbour said that his version of Hellboy is younger. In the original Hellboy comics and the 2004 Hellboy movie, Hellboy was summoned to Earth by Rasputin (yes, that Rasputin) towards the end of World War II, and Professor Trevor Bruttenholm took in the infant demon and raised him as a son. Judging by a quick shot in the trailer, it looks like the Rasputin summoning will remain intact in the Hellboy reboot, but if this Harbour’s Hellboy is younger, that suggests this event won’t occur during World War II. After all, Ian McShane, who’s playing Bruttenholm in the reboot, was born in 1942, so assuming Bruttenholm is around the same age, that means he wouldn’t have been active during World War II. I wonder if Hellboy will now be brought to Earth several decades later, thus accounting for why he hasn’t been on Earth as long.
Whatever the timeline looks like, Hellboy will see the eponymous protagonist and his B.P.R.D. allies fighting Nimue, an medieval sorceress who seeks to bring the human world and monster world together, which will result in humanity being obliterated. The cast also includes Milla Jovovich as Nimue the Blood Queen, Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan and Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio.