Christmas came early yesterday for fans of Hellboy. Neil Marshall’s comic book monster flick dropped its first trailer, and the reactions have been mostly positive. Still, some fans couldn’t help but compare the new film to Guillermo Del Toro’s masterful take on the character. After all, Del Toro has one of the most interesting styles in Hollywood; one that earned him an Oscar last year. It’s easy to assume that the Hellboy reboot will be too close to his vision. From all reports, however, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. No, David Harbour, Neil Marshall, and Mike Mignola have teamed up to make an awesome, very original film. Here to prove it are 10 ways the new Hellboy will be different from Guillermo Del Toro’s films.
10. The BPRD Is Public Knowledge
In the first Hellboy film by GDT, the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense is a covert operation. It operates with extreme secrecy, only coming forward to the public when Hellboy reveals himself in The Golden Army. That doesn’t appear to be the case here. Hellboy and his companions are walking around in broad daylight, entirely uninterested in who sees them. And even if the public’s just vaguely aware of what they’re doing, that demon portal just above London will probably tip them off at some point.
9. There’s A Different BPRD Roster
The BPRD of Guillermo Del Toro’s films was very different than the one we’ll see this April. Characters like Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and Johann Keats are nowhere to be seen in this trailer. Instead, we’ll finally get to meet Ben Daimio, a sort of were-jaguar, and Alice Monaghan, a fairy-raised human. Plus, we know that The Fury will also be appearing in the film. There are even rumors that Thomas Haden Church has joined the cast as Lobster Johnson. It’s exciting that we’ll get to check out these fan-favorite characters. And don’t worry, we’ll probably be seeing characters like Abe pop up in the future. Hollywood is not about to turn down a sexy fish person.
8. The Monsters Are From The Comic
Guillermo Del Toro’s monster designs in Hellboy—especially Hellboy 2—are visual masterpieces. In particular, the Troll Market scene from the sequel was a masterwork in practical effects and fantasy art, debuting some of the best visual work to come out of Hellboy. However, many of those designs came from GDT himself. In this film, it’s clear we’re getting monsters from the comic book source, Gruagach the pig monster being a prime example. Some even argue that David Harbour’s Hellboy is more accurate to the comic than Ron Perlman’s, but I’m not touching that debate. I don’t want to be trampled.
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7. Hellboy Is Single
One of the defining aspects of GDT’s Hellboy was his relationship with pyrotechnic Liz Sherman. As any fan knows, this is a departure from the comic, but it made for an entertaining subplot, humanizing Hellboy in a concrete way. However, Neil Marshall’s Hellboy seems just fine with being a bachelor. There’s always a chance he’ll fall for someone in a later flick, but for now, it looks like he’s not with anyone. Although, maybe he and Daimio could get together? That whole “monster” argument would be one heck of a meet-cute.
6. Professor Broom Is A Soldier, Not A Scholar
John Hurt’s Professor Bruttenholm (Broom for short) was essentially a teacher thrown onto a battlefield. His interests were intellectual as much as practical, with a focus on understanding the paranormal at the forefront of his mind. However, Ian McShane’s Broom looks a lot more ready for a fight. The American Gods star’s take on the character seems battle-ready from what we see in the trailer, going on about the BPRD as a “last defense” in the supernatural “forever war.” Still, he’ll probably leave most of the actual fighting up to Hellboy, but when pressed, it wouldn’t be shocking to see McShane put up his fists. I know that I, for one, would pay double the ticket price to see Al Swearengen punch a centaur.
5. Hellboy Is Morally Conflicted
When David Harbour spoke at New York Comic-Con this October, he mentioned Hellboy’s duality as both monster and monster hunter. We got the sense that this will be an internal struggle for Hellboy, rejecting his demonic heritage, in a manner of speaking, fighting on the side of angels. This idea is clear from the trailer, as we see Hellboy complain about being turned “into a weapon” by Broom and contemplating his actions in private moments. He even seems a little reluctant to pick up the famous Good Samaritan gun, bitterly joking that some fathers “get their kids Legos.” What this means for Hellboy’s loyalty is yet to be seen, but I gotta say; Wearing the apocalyptic crown and horns does make him seem a little on the fence about the issue.
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4. There’s Way More Blood
For all its fun, Guillermo Del Toro’s film series was clearly rated PG-13. The violence was goofy and blood-free, never exceeding the gore of a Marvel superhero flick. That is NOT the case for Neil Marshall’s Hellboy. In one snippet of the trailer, we see some skeletal giant throw what appears to be a skinned man into the air and then slice him in half, spattering the street below in his guts. From this two-second clip alone, it’s clear Marshall isn’t afraid of leaning on the “horror” side of “action-horror.”
3. A Rocking Soundtrack
Guillermo Del Toro’s music is always perfect for his films. From Pan’s Labyrinth to The Shape of Water, his soundtracks have always brought real gravity and emotion to his fantastical, magical worlds. To that end, his Hellboy soundtrack was sweeping and mythic, reflecting the epic sage he built with the two movies. Neil Marshall has chosen an action-focused, modern adventure. Just from the trailer, we can see his soundtrack is right for that film. Just don’t recut the movie because we liked the trailer, okay Neil?
2. Hellboy Is King Of England
Yes, you read that correctly. In The Wild Hunt—the comic book story that inspired this film—Hellboy finds out that he’s the rightful King of England. Like any good English Monarch, he does this by wielding Excalibur, which we can clearly see several times in the trailer. It appears that part of this film will take place in Jolly Old England, so it will be interesting to see whether or not this has any effect on what Hellboy does over there. At the very least, it’ll certainly get fans excited for Hellboy 2: Royal Wedding.
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1. A Cinematic Universe?
Hellboy was always a movie-by-movie deal. Though the films were left open to sequels, the plan behind them was nothing on the scale of an MC or DCEU. However, from what we know of Marshall’s movie so far, a cinematic universe is definitely a major goal. This goes right along with the wishes of Mike Mignola, who said in an interview last year that he’d love a larger on-screen world for his characters. Of course, all that depends on how well Hellboy does at the box office. If the movie bombs, Lionsgate is highly unlikely to follow through with a connected movie series. But if Venom can do it, I’d bet dollars to donuts that Anung Un Rama can.
What other differences do you predict between the original Hellboy and the reboot? Will the differences make the movie better, worse, or just…well, different? Let us know in the comments section below!