After it was finally confirmed once and for all that Hellboy III wouldn’t be happening, Lionsgate decided to reboot the Dark Horse property, with Stranger Things star David Harbour wearing the red makeup and shortened horns this time around. Unfortunately for the studio and Hellboy fans, the reboot was a flop across the board, and as a result, Harbour doesn’t think that a follow-up is on the way. As he put it:
I don't think there'll be much of a light. There's a lot of people who reach out to me who really loved it and really enjoyed the new take, and were just happy to see him back on the screen, but I know in the culture at large, I don't think it was very well received.
Hellboy not being well-received is putting it mildly. It ranks at just 17% on Rotten Tomatoes among critics, and while the Audience Score is kinder at 58%, needless to say this movie will not go down in film history as exceptional. Commercially, it’s only made $46.1 million worldwide, not even making back its $50 million budget.
With numbers like that, it’s no wonder David Harbour thinks that we shouldn’t get our hopes up for a sequel. The Hellboy mythology created by Mike Mignola has enjoyed over two and half decades of popularity in comic books, and the Guillermo del Toro-directed Hellboy movies earned a decent amount of positive reception, but because the Hellboy reboot largely failed to impress, it will almost certainly be a one-and-done tale.
It was reported shortly before Hellboy’s release that the movie went through a lot of behind-the-scenes drama, and David Harbour later acknowledged that there were “major problems,” but who knows how much the movie could have been improved if things had been calmer on set. Harbour also mentioned during his conversation with Comicbook.com:
I don't think it made a lot of money. I don't really keep up with those things too much to be honest, but I don't think the perception was that it was a hit, and so in that way, I don't know that the risk is worth it. I think the idea is to move on. The producers spoke to me just saying 'Great job,' they really liked what I did, but I haven't heard anything about a sequel, and I'm not hanging my hat on anything like that.
Warning: SPOILERS for Hellboy are ahead!
Hellboy certainly planted seeds for a sequel or two. At the very end, Big Red, Alice Monaghan and Ben Daimio found the water tanks of Abe Sapien, one of the most important characters in the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. mythos who was played by Doug Jones in the original Hellboy movies. One can imagine that had Hellboy 2 moved forward, Abe would have been a prominent character.
There was also a mid-credits scene showing Hellboy interacting with Thomas Haden Church’s Lobster Johnson, who, in this continuity, was present when the Nazis brought Hellboy to Earth in World War II. Finally, Hellboy’s post-credits scene showed Baba Yaga recruiting an unseen figure, assumed to be Koschei the Deathless, to kill the eponymous protagonist.
If you’re curious about what movies are opening later this year, look through our 2019 release schedule.