On the face of it, Neil Marshall’s Hellboy reboot was doomed from the start. Fans had been clamoring to see Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman complete their trilogy for over a decade, and while the box office returns for the first two installments were far from spectacular, they managed to turn a profit, generate strong sales on home video, receive widespread critical acclaim and spawn a dedicated and loyal fanbase.
If the numbers weren’t appealing enough to bring back the original team, though, then quite how Lionsgate expected a new take on the material to fair better was anyone’s guess, especially when supporters of del Toro and Perlman’s duology had absolutely no interest in seeing a Hellboy adaptation that neither man was involved in.
David Harbour was about as solid a replacement as the production could hope to find, and while he acquitted himself well as the title hero, the movie surrounding him was absolutely awful. Reviews for Hellboy were nothing short of savage, and it tanked at the box office after barely recouping the $50 million budget.
Having spent so long trying to get a third outing of his own off the ground only to see the property rebooted in such terrible fashion, you’d forgive Perlman for holding a grudge against his successor, but in a recent interview, the 70 year-old admitted that there are no hard feelings, and he’s actually a big fan of Harbour as both a person and an actor.
“Well, I’m fond of David Harbour. He’s a really good guy and he’s a really good actor, so I was hoping for the best for him, but I had my Hellboy epoch, era, was what it was. This has really nothing to do with it. There was no overlap. They were two completely different entities. So I didn’t have an opinion about the new Hellboy or a wish for it to succeed or fail, but I did make it clear that if there was a chance to finish the trilogy with Guillermo, as we had done the first two films and in the image of what he had in mind in terms of closing all of the circles, that is something that I would, to this day, consider doing. But since it didn’t happen, then I had moved on and I didn’t have an opinion about any of it. And I’m not being effusive or hyperbolic, that’s just the truth of it.”
Fans may have resigned themselves to the fact that del Toro and Perlman will never get the chance to make another Hellboy movie, but based on how the industry operates, it probably won’t be too long until the next reinvention is announced.