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In the words of Anung Un Rama: "Damn..." Catching up with Inverse on the press circuit for Nightmare Alley (now playing), actor Ron Perlman got more candid than ever about Guillermo del Toro's grand vision for a third Hellboy movie.
"The ending was going to resolve all of the aspects about this mythical creature that was introduced in the first two films," he said. "The result was going to be dramatic, super-violent, biblical in nature, Greek mythology. It was a shame the audience, who had hung in with us for the first two films, was deprived of seeing that finish because it would have been a big beautiful finish."
Perlman and del Toro's cinematic tenure in the supernatural comic book universe created by Mike Mignola came to a close with the release of 2008's The Golden Army, which left several story threads dangling. Last we saw of our heroes, they had just quit the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, with Hellboy and Liz Sherman (Selma Blair) planning to start a family together. Of course, the apocalyptic bill would have to be paid at some point down the line when the horned and cigar-loving investigator ultimately brought about the end of the world. They don't call it the "Right Hand of Doom" for nothin', folks!
Despite favorable feedback from critics and audiences alike, Hellboy II didn't make a ton of money at the box office, effectively placing the idea for a threequel in a state of indefinite stasis. While Perlman wasn't exactly gung-ho about sitting in the makeup chair for hours upon hours for a third go-around, he still wanted to close out the trilogy for the sake of loyal fans.
"It wasn't as if I was anxious to put the makeup on again and to work as hard as I had to work to play a superhero," he explained. "I was 57 when we did the second one, but I thought it was just something we owed the fans. It just was one of those things where we could never get everybody's schedules to work together and it never happened."
The impetus for a third Hellboy from the OG crew started to fade over the years, paving the way for Lionsgate's doomed 2019 reboot with Stranger Things' David Harbour in the title role. Perhaps it's time for Hollywood to go back to the Lovecraftian drawing board with Mr. del Toro (now a big-time Oscar-winner with more creative influence) at the helm. For his part, Perlman (now 71 years old) lives by a philosophy of "never say never." In fact, he doesn't much care if he's not asked back to play the main character — he's just as eager as the rest of us to see how it all ends.
"Somebody may pick it up at some point and finish the trilogy," he finished. "I hope they finish the trilogy. And I hope Guillermo's script is the one that they make to finish the trilogy. Whether he directs it or not. Whether I'm Hellboy doesn't matter. It's just that circle needs to be completed."
Nightmare Alley is now playing in theaters everywhere. The film opened to just shy of $3 million domestically over the weekend.