The revival of the Hellboy franchise is exciting but bittersweet, with original director Guillermo del Toro no longer involved in the reboot — but it turns out this new project originally had a whole lot more in common with del Toro’s take.
Creator Mike Mignola told Nerdist the new film was originally a continuation of del Toro’s version of the story, and they approached original star Ron Perlman about reprising the title role. When del Toro apparently said he didn’t want to be a part of this version (since it’s apparently not the story he wanted to tell in a third film), Perlman also declined to return.
With Perlman and del Toro out, and new director Neil Marshall set behind the camera, the decision was made to simply reboot the franchise and start fresh:
“I would’ve loved to see Guillermo do his third movie and finish that story. But over the years it became very clear that wasn’t going to happen. About three years ago the producers, the screenwriter Andrew Cosby, and I all started working on this new story. Del Toro didn’t want to have anything to do with it, he wasn’t going to direct. He was offered to be a producer, and Ron [Perlman] wouldn’t do it without Guillermo.
So we originally started trying to tie it to the del Toro universe and continue those movies. But once we had Neil Marshall, we thought, ‘Why are we going to try and continue that universe?’ Because a del Toro movie is a del Toro movie, and you don’t want to try and hand a del Toro movie to someone else. Especially someone as great as Neil Marshall. So that’s when it went from being this continuation to being a reboot,” Mignola enthused. “It’s exciting to have another director. It’s exciting to take another path, to take that material and give it another leaning.”
Obviously, it’s a shame we’ll never get to see del Toro’s vision for a third film realized, but it seems Hollywood just wasn’t game to pony up the $125+ million he needed to make it happen. This new project is apparently on the more mid-budget side of the spectrum, which is almost certainly what helped it get into development.
What do you think? Would you have preferred a straight-up reboot, or a continuation of del Toro’s story (albeit without del Toro)?