When Hellboy hits theaters next month, it'll end up being the third live-action film featuring the spooky universe of characters created by Mike Mignola. Despite being the third Hellboy flick, it's a hard reboot featuring David Harbour in the titular role, taking over for the fan-favorite Ron Pearlman. When it comes to the choice to reboot, Hellboy producer Lloyd Levin revealed the decision all came down to Oscar-winning director Guillermo del Toro.
Speaking with Collider, Levin said that Lionsgate was able to snag the rights for Hellboy films after del Toro decided part with the franchise in order to pursue other projects rather than wrapping up his trilogy by doing a third film with Pearlman, Selma Blair, and company.
"For years, the second one came out in , and during that time the idea of a third would've been very very exciting," Levin says. "It was up to Guillermo and he ultimately decided that this was behind him. He was onto other things. So we were able to get a hold of the rights."
"A third without Guillermo was unthinkable and without Ron was unthinkable so you have over 20 years worth of stories and dozens of characters and it just felt like there was so much more of the Hellboy, Mignola-verse to explore. So we talked about it and faced with no opportunity to do a third, the only opportunity was to reboot."
When they decided to reboot, the crew behind to full movie went all-in, deciding to go with a "hard" rated-R film, something they felt was closer to the comic book mythos than the previous two films. Though del Toro is no longer involved, the filmmaker did manage to have a quick discussion with his successor in Neil Marshall (The Descent).
"It was always the case that I didn't want to step on his toes and I didn't want to get his nose put out of joint by this," Marshall says of the reboot. "So as soon as it became official that I was on board, I got in touch with him and said, 'This is something very very different and I just want to make sure you're cool with that.' And he was like, 'I'm totally cool with it. I'm totally magnanimous about it.'"
Hellboy hits theaters on April 12th.
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