The cast of the new Hellboy movie and the character's original creator took the main stage at New York Comic Con 2018 to debut the world's first trailer from the upcoming reboot.
The new Hellboy footage showed off actor David Harbour's new portrayal of the character, with voiceover warning of a "forever war." The trailer begins with Hellboy getting out of the back of a police van and immediately getting shot in the arm--by a cop. "Hey, I'm on your side!" he shouts, immediately setting the humorous tone. At the entrance to what is presumably the BPRD's new secret headquarters, he gets asked for his ID. "Are you serious?" he asks.
Based on the trailer, the new Hellboy looks like something of a mix between an origin story and one that picks up in the middle of the character's saga. "Does it do anything special?" he's asked, referring to his "strong right arm." "Yeah," Hellboy replies. "It smashes things real good."
The trailer ends on the note that he's "mankind's best and only hope," followed by the iconic visual of Hellboy with his flaming crown and sword--alluding to Hellboy's true name, "Anung Un Rama," which translates to "and upon his brow is set a crown of flame."
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola said during the panel preceding the footage that the movie will draw from his most epic Hellboy storyline. "It's such a long, complicated thing, how this stuff comes about, but it's the biggest Hellboy storyline I ever came up with," he said. "The movie does move a bunch of pieces around, but the movie's almost entirely made of pieces of the story Wild Hunt and the books that are bookending it. And then there are bits and pieces of other Hellboy stories that are laced through it...when you have 25 years worth of material, and everyone's saying 'I want to use this' and 'I want to use that,' that's the fun bit, trying to string all those things together and make it work."
Mignola also shared his original vision for Hellboy: "All I ever wanted to do was draw monsters. I finally realized the only way I would get to draw monsters--just monsters--would be to make up my own monster thing."
He said he's always skeptical when the prospect of a new Hellboy movie arises. "I never believe any of this stuff is ever going to happen," he said, adding that he thought the story the series' producers wanted to tackle this time was "a strange place to start." But "we don't want to just redo what we've done before," he said.
David Harbour is taking the role over in this version of Hellboy from Ron Perlman, who played the protagonist in the first two Hellboy live action movies. Mignola said his wife had remarked that Harbour would make a good Hellboy while she and Mignola watched Stranger Things. "Two weeks later I got a call from the producer saying, 'What would you think of David Harbour playing Hellboy?'" Mignola said. "Shout out to my wife for recognizing."
Harbour said he began reading Hellboy comics in his 20s as "an artsy kid in the East Village." He said he's thrilled that Hellboy is using practical effects over CGI, taking a good-natured dig at Marvel by mentioning Infinity War villain Thanos, who was a mostly CGI character portrayed by Josh Brolin. The crowd ate it up, with a loud, collective "Ohhh!" and cries of "shots fired!" "I love Avengers Infinity War!" Harbour later clarified, ensuring it was all taken in good fun.
Other actors took the stage as well. Sasha Lane, who plays Alice Monaghan, said her character "ain't no damsel in distress"--she's a "badass." "She's kidnapped by fairies and talks to dead people, like, f*** with me," she said.
Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Ben Daimio, joked that he originally auditioned for Lane's role, but admitted he took his role after a friend dropped out from the project. He said he's happy when Asian actors are represented in this type of movie.
Milla Jovovich, who plays a character called "Nimue the Blood Queen," even sent a video message from South Africa, where she's shooting her next film. "The script portrays [the Blood Queen] as the villain, which I highly resent," she said. "I mean, she's only trying to be friends with Hellboy, right David? Nah, just kidding, she's trying to kill everyone and everything around her!"
Ultimately, Harbour described exactly how his version of the character Hellboy will be different from Perlman's. "My approach was a little bit more down and dirty, or something, and even a little bit more--my Hellboy feels a little younger, like, he's got hair, which is a big thing," Harbour said. "But he's also got a little more inner turmoil, a little more strife with Bruttenholm, and a little more lost with his place in the universe. And I'm just bringing more of what I bring.
"In that way it just has a completely different feel," he continued. "And in that way, you know, I can enjoy both, and I hope that you can as well, because to me this character deserves a life, and it deserves more movies. I love this character, and I want to see this character grow and change, and also I want to get down to the core of Mike's stuff, which to me is really horror in a certain way--even an existential horror in a certain way--and I think that we achieved some of that in this, while also having a lot of fun."
Hellboy is scheduled to hit theaters April 12, 2019.