He would not know it at the time, but when Mike Mignola conceived of Hellboy in 1993, he would set in motion one of the most purchased comic book characters and a superhero who would be a serious big screen presence. The synopsis seemed obscure enough with a US-allied demon helping to save the West and the world from evil aliens threatening to do their worst.
As his creation prepares for a movie reboot courtesy of Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen, Mignola explained to The Verge that there is plenty more content for filmmakers to pick from. At least, should they wish. Depending on the box office results for the 2018 installment, more adaptations could be on the way.
Half a Century of Timeline Opens Up Prequel Opportunities
24 years after he first put pen to paper, could he ever forecast how one character would spawn into numerous spinoffs and timeline alterations? Some classify it as a Mignola-verse, just don't tell that to him.
"I hate to say Mignola-verse," he replied. "It’s spooky whenever I use it! It’s certainly nothing I ever imagined doing, and the thing I’m most proud of — and I wish I could take all the credit for it — is the fact that it’s all happened very organically. The beauty of being able to do stories set in various time periods and stuff, they all work together really well. There's still a lot of ground to cover.
"Twenty-five years of Hellboy, B.P.R.D., and related books... you can read all that stuff and it's a coherent, complicated story. That’s not something I ever set out to do, but I’m happy with how it turned out. I just don't think there's anything like that in comics right now, now that Marvel and DC keep scrapping their continuities and starting over."
Developing a department for the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.), he has narratives that fit a number of diverse interests. This timeline play will allow the franchise to sustain multiple stories following the release of 2016's Hellboy in Hell, a series that concludes the protagonist from the universe.
"The beauty is that we have this Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. series that Chris (Roberson) is writing, where we’re filling in this gigantic gap between Hellboy’s first appearance to when the first comic was published, which takes place in the ‘90s. That’s 40 to 50 years of untold stories. There’s definitely places to go beyond where B.P.R.D. is. There’s also the Victorian era that hasn't been fleshed out. There's prehistoric stuff I'd love to do."
We Tried PG-13 Fantasy - New Hellboy Is Pure Horror
One of the headline announcements for Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen would derive from the R-rating. Described as a hardcore horror title that would go full throttle with the violence, Mignola said that the studio has given the filmmakers full license on this picture - no questions asked.
"It’ll lean in the horror direction, more so than the fantasy direction (Guillermo) del Toro was doing. When (director) Neil (Marshall) came on, we decided to go for an R rating, so he doesn’t have his hands tied, and so he can go as dark and as tough as he wants to go. I was a fan of his, and when he came onboard, I thought it was terrific: now it’s really going to be an action-horror film."
While there was creative friction between himself and del Toro for his 2004 and 2008 movies, Mignola says that he has taken a more hands off approach this time around. Perhaps lessons have been learned.
"I’m a weird kind of co-executive producer. I’m not actually sure what my title is, but unlike the del Toro movies, where I was active in pre-production and design, I’m not doing that this time around. When the decision was made to do another movie, I got involved, basically saying, 'If you’re going to do that story, don’t do this, or that, change this, and that.' I helped to steer it. Christopher Golden and I did write a couple of drafts of the screenplay and got it on track, and then the decision was made to do a reboot."
Source: The Verge