Following the release of the first trailer for 2019's Hellboy reboot, franchise creator Mike Mignola (who is also an executive producer on the new film) took the time to explain how this new version of the character, played by David Harbour, differs from the version played by Ron Perlman in 2004's Hellboy and 2008's Hellboy II: The Golden Army.
"[David Harbour's Hellboy is] a little bit more dramatic. There's a different edge," Mignola told IGN. "[Ron Perlman] was very smooth as Hellboy, and there's a whole different love interest vibe with Ron's thing. Ron was almost playing this kind of old adolescent. And Harbour plays a grittier Hellboy, and a bit more explosive, emotionally."
"It's hard to explain, but it is a very different take," he continued. "The beauty is, both of them, in their own way, feel like Hellboy. It's almost like they're just tipped into to different directions. There's something much gnarlier about David's Hellboy."
One of the key ways that his new incarnation of Mignola's iconic character will differ from the one seen in the previous films is that, as opposed to being largely kept a secret by the B.P.R.D., the Hellboy in this new film is more similar to the one in the comics, in that his existence is known to the general public. Additionally, Harbour's Hellboy has apparently been on the job longer than Perlman's, which helps explain his angsty attitude.
"In the Del Toro films, Hellboy is kind of penned up, and kept secret, and that is not what we have here," said Mignola. "This is truer to the comic, in that Hellboy's been out in the world. He's not a top-secret, hidden away guy. He's an out-there-in-the-world, functioning, working adult. So you've got that working stiff, been there, done that vibe with Harbour, that you just couldn't have with Ron because it was played so differently. [With Harbour's Hellboy] there's a little bit more angsty, find-your-place-in-the-world, a frustration with his role."
Finally, Mignola explained why the new film would be partially based on the 2008-2009 comic Hellboy: The Wild Hunt, as opposed to taking its cues from the original Seed of Destruction comic.
"We didn't want to retell the original, the first Hellboy book, because Del Toro had done that. So looking for a new entryway into the Hellboy world, and taking this big, three-book arc, going to that story, gave us a new place to start, and it gave us a large story, so hopefully, after this film, we can continue in this big arc that I established in the comics."
Arriving April 12, 2019, director Neil Marshall’s Hellboy stars David Harbour as Hellboy, Ian McShane as Trevor Bruttenholm, Milla Jovovich as Nimue, Sasha Lane as Alice Monaghan, Penelope Mitchell as Ganeida and Daniel Dae Kim as Ben Daimio.