Ron Perlman in full makeup, gun drawn walking the Subway tunnels in Hellboy.

17 years ago, director Guillermo del Toro put the Hellboy franchise on the cinematic map thanks to his 2004 adaptation of creator Mike Mignola’s landmark comic. What followed was a fan-favorite that gave del Toro a chance to scale his unique voice into blockbuster strength, as well as another chance for Ron Perlman to endear himself with genre fans. To commemorate the film’s anniversary, Mignola celebrated his creation’s jump to the big screen with a sweet social media post.

Honoring the April 2, 2004 premiere of Hellboy, Mike Mignola recalled the film rather fondly with a Twitter message detailing just how hard it was to make that first movie a reality. With heartfelt thanks to Guillermo del Toro for making it happen, Mignola heralded the day with a photo of Ron Perlman and Selma Blair as Hellboy and Liz to seal the sweetness deal. Here’s what he had to say:

As Mike Mignola noted in his Hellboy celebration post, the path to getting that original film made was a pretty rough road. Part of the reason was because studios weren’t sold on Ron Perlman as a leading man, while others just weren’t sold on the concept in general. But through perseverance and hard work, Guillermo del Toro not only got one film out of the deal, he actually managed to get a sequel made four years later with Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

Of course, this is the part of the story where Hellboy fans start to get a bit sad, and for good reason. While a trilogy was planned, Hellboy III never happened, leading to a 2019 reboot that, while also being endorsed by Mike Mignola, sadly crashed and burned in theaters. Though some still hold out hope for Guillermo del Toro to finish his trilogy of films, it’s pretty much a prospect that’s been burned and buried on sacred ground.

Still, the memories inspired by Hellboy and Hellboy II: The Golden Army are wonderful things that fans can carry with them. In fact, after 17 years, the greatest lesson that could be learned is the fact that out of all things in the world, faith is what gave us all Hellboy in the first place. It may not be the sort of faith that’s you’d typically think of when invoking that word, but the warmth of fans kept this orphan of an occult ritual as warm and cared for as Dr. Bruttenholm himself.

While things didn’t wrap up as audiences, Guillermo del Toro or even Mike Mignola would have liked to have seen, Hellboy still exists with two stellar entries in its feature film canon. Though its cinematic future is an unknown quantity at this time, fond memories will continue to keep us all hoping that some day, we'll get to see Hellboy in theaters again. Until then, we'll just have to hope that Ron Perlman and Guillermo del Toro can somehow work their dark magic and get Hellboy III made in some shape or form.

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