Ron Perlman nailed his portrayal of the titular demonic antihero in Guillermo del Toro’s Hellboy and the duo reunited for an equally awesome sequel, The Golden Army. Since both movies succeeded at the box office, fans hoped they’d return with Hellboy III a couple of years down the line. Unfortunately, the third movie stalled in development hell until the studio let it become moot.
When the subsequent R-rated reboot starring David Harbour crashed and burned upon release as a critical and commercial flop, Hellboy fans longed for the threequel that could’ve been. Here’s everything that’s known about del Toro and Perlman’s unproduced third Hellboy movie.
10 It Was Initially Delayed By The Hobbit
Long before Peter Jackson adapted The Hobbit as a Lord of the Rings-sized eight-hour trilogy, Guillermo del Toro developed a much more faithful two-part adaptation. Del Toro’s work on The Hobbit delayed his work on Hellboy III.
In 2010, when the director dropped out of The Hobbit and Jackson took his place, he speculated that Hellboy III could be his next project, but added that a script had yet to be written.
9 The Plot Saw Hellboy Becoming The Beast Of The Apocalypse
In a Reddit AMA long after Hellboy III had slipped off del Toro’s radar, he detailed some of his story ideas for fans: “The idea for it was to have Hellboy finally come to terms with the fact that his destiny – his inevitable destiny – is to become the beast of the Apocalypse.”
The script played with the irony of Hellboy having to become the Beast of the Apocalypse, the worst enemy of humankind, in order to defend humanity from the movie’s true villain.
8 A Ron Perlman Make-A-Wish Appearance Inspired Del Toro To Return To The Project
In 2012, two years after mentioning that Hellboy III was a possibility, del Toro finally returned to the comic book threequel. The director said at Comic-Con, “I can say publicly that now we are together in trying [to make Hellboy III].”
Del Toro had been inspired to return to Hellboy III when he saw a Make-A-Wish event where Ron Perlman was in full makeup and costume as Hellboy for a sick kid.
7 It Was Planned As The Final Hellboy Movie
Del Toro and Perlman weren’t planning Hellboy III with the aim to lead into Hellboy IV and Hellboy V; the third movie was going to be the big finale that wrapped up the story.
From Spider-Man 3 to The Dark Knight Rises, trilogy-closing superhero movies tend to create such high expectations that it’s impossible to satisfy fans. But based on their work in the previous two movies, it seems likely del Toro and Perlman could’ve pulled it off.
6 The Story Could’ve Been Told In Comic Book Form
When it was becoming increasingly unlikely that a major Hollywood player would stump up the nine-figure budget to produce Hellboy III, Guillermo del Toro suggested turning the already-finalized story for the movie into a comic book.
However, this idea was vetoed by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, who notably disliked del Toro’s film adaptations for their changes to the source material.
5 It Was Darker Than The Previous Two Movies
Since the story of Hellboy III would revolve around the title character becoming the Beast of the Apocalypse, he would’ve transformed into a much darker figure, which would’ve made the tone of the movie darker than the previous two.
In the aforementioned Reddit AMA, del Toro mentioned that, over the course of his arc in the threequel, Hellboy “becomes a much darker being. It’s a very interesting ending to the series, but I don’t think it will happen.”
4 The Decline Of Home Media Killed Off Hellboy III
Neither of the first two Hellboy movies was particularly successful at the box office. They weren’t flops, but they didn’t grab studio executives’ attention, either. What did grab their attention was the movies’ impressive home media sales. The Hellboy DVDs sold so well that Columbia Pictures made it one of their very first Blu-ray releases.
Guillermo del Toro has said that the decline of home media has killed Hellboy III’s chances: “Sadly, now, from a business point of view, all the studios know is that you don’t have that safety net of the DVD and video, so they view the project as dangerous.”
3 The Threequel Needed A Budget Of $120 Million
While the first Hellboy movie was produced for around $60 million and the sequel was produced for around $85 million, the third movie’s bigger, bolder script required a whopping $120 million to bring it to life. Since the first film didn’t even make $100 million in its entire theatrical run, this budget seemed extremely risky.
According to del Toro, “The hard fact is that the movie’s going to need about $120 million and there’s nobody knocking down our doors to give it to us. It’s a little beyond Kickstarter.”
2 It Could’ve Happened If Pacific Rim: Uprising Was A Success
Although all the major studios turned down Hellboy III, Guillermo del Toro and Ron Perlman did find a potential producing partner in Legendary Pictures when they made Pacific Rim. Legendary gave del Toro creative freedom on Pacific Rim, and he and Perlman hoped they’d get the same freedom on a Hellboy movie.
In 2015, del Toro said that Legendary would consider financing Hellboy III if Pacific Rim: Uprising was a success. However, he dropped out of directing the Pacific Rim sequel and then it bombed at the box office anyway, so the Hellboy deal was scrapped.
1 Del Toro Says The Project Is Dead, But Perlman Is Optimistic
In 2017, Guillermo del Toro tweeted, “Must report that 100% [Hellboy III] will not happen. And that is to be the final thing about it.” So, it seemed pretty certain that the Hellboy threequel would never get off the ground.
However, in 2019, Ron Perlman revived the fanbase’s optimism when he said on the Talk Easy podcast that he’d still love to complete his Hellboy trilogy with del Toro and that all they need is the funding.
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