There’s a new Hellboy movie on the way in 2019. Not only will this latest cinematic adventure reboot the franchise and introduce a new cast (including Stranger Things’ Jim Hopper, David Harbour, in the titular role), it promises to draw even more closely from the Hellboy comics. That’s according to Hellboy creator Mike Mignola, anyway. Mignola recently revealed that the film is specifically inspired by three Hellboy graphic novels – Darkness Calls, The Wild Hunt and The Storm and the Fury.
If you’re not familiar with the comics, you might be wondering what this means for the new movie. Here’s a quick breakdown of these three pivotal stories and why they’ll be pushing Hellboy in a very different direction when he returns to the big screen.
This storyline was collected as Volume 8 in the original lineup of Hellboy graphic novels (See it on Amazon). It serves as a major turning point for the franchise, one in which various running plot threads begin to come together. It wasn’t obvious at the time, but this is where Mignola and artist Duncan Fegredo (who began drawing many of the core Hellboy stories at this point) began paving the way for the grand climax of Hellboy’s journey. Which makes it an interesting starting point for a movie reboot, to be sure.
Darkness Calls opens during a period when Hellboy has cut ties with the BPRD and begun traveling the world on his own. That’s one element that’ll be different in the movie. The BPRD will have a presence — the cast features several major BPRD characters and even Professor Bruttenholm (who died in the very first Hellboy comic) — but Mignola emphasized that it’s mainly a Hellboy movie and not a BPRD team movie like the previous film series. Darkness Calls is also significant for taking place after the goddess Hecate has been overthrown, an act which causes a major power vacuum in the supernatural world and sparks many of the conflicts to come in the Hellboy saga.
The story again brings Hellboy into conflict with Baba Yaga, the Russian witch who harbors a deep grudge against the hero after he destroyed one of her eyes. Baba Yaga hires an unkillable assassin named Koschei the Deathless to hunt Hellboy across the wilderness and literally claim an eye for an eye. Baba Yaga reportedly has a role in the new movie, but there’s no indication that Koschei will appear yet.
Basically, it seems as though Darkness Calls will have more a thematic influence over the movie rather than directly informing the plot. This is a story where Hellboy starts to brush up against the truth about his origins and the terrible destiny that fate has in store for him, and finds himself unready to take the plunge.
The Wild Hunt
The Wild Hunt is collected as Volume 9 of the original Hellboy trade paperback series, making it the direct follow-up to Darkness Calls (See it on Amazon). This story begins simply enough, with Hellboy being invited to join in on the titular hunt, an age-old tradition designed to rid the world of dangerous giants. As is so often the case in Hellboy’s world, that straightforward mission takes a few major swerves along the way.
The hunt itself isn’t actually the focus of this particular story. In fact, it’s mainly only shown in sporadic flashback form. The Wild Hunt is more significant for introducing several characters who are integral to the latter half of Mignola’s Hellboy saga. One of those is Alice Monaghan, a woman whom Hellboy once rescued as an infant in the short story “The Corpse” and who becomes his main love interest. Alice is a major character in the new movie (played by Sasha Lane), so we hope you’re not too attached to the Hellboy/Liz Sherman relationship from the previous movies.
The Wild Hunt is also notable for finally revealing Hellboy’s full origin story and parentage (which we won’t spoil for you here, but can be easily searched for if you’re dying to know). In the process, the story delves heavily into Arthurian lore, with characters like Queen Mab, Morgan le Fay and Nimue the Blood Queen becoming major antagonists. Milla Jovovich’s Blood Queen in particular looks to be the primary villain of the new movie, suggesting that the plot will be drawing pretty heavily from this particular volume.
The Storm and the Fury
Originally published as two separate but closely connected miniseries, The Storm and The Fury is the 12th volume in the original Hellboy TPB series (See it on Amazon). Volumes 10 and 11 focused mainly on shorter, standalone tales, which is why the movie skips straight from from 9 to 12 as it draws from the source material.
The Storm and the Fury serves as the endgame for the overarching conflict that started in Darkness Calls and continued in The Wild Hunt. The resurgent Nimue has amassed a gigantic army of witches and various supernatural beasts that she intends to use to wipe away the world of men. The only things standing in her way are Hellboy, Alice and a little sword known as Excalibur.
The Storm and The Fury marks another critical turning point for the Hellboy saga, as this is where the wandering hero finally embraces the destiny he’s denied for so long and battles against a world-ending apocalypse. It neatly wraps up Hellboy’s feuds with both Nimue and Baba Yaga. Whether the film will feature the same stakes or the same fundamental, sweeping changes to the Hellboy status quo remains to be seen. But judging from the poster alone, we’re guessing we’ll see Hellboy take up Excalibur and go to war with the Blood Queen. This volume is also where Hellboy battles a massive dragon in a brawl to end all brawls, so here’s hoping that epic confrontation makes it into the film.
For more on the upcoming Hellboy movie, here’s our recap of the footage we saw at New York Comic Con: