UPDATED 02/18/2022: Deadline has officially announced Hellboy: The Crooked Man with Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden revealed to actually be writing the film’s script. The film will follow Hellboy and a rookie BPRD agent stranded in 1950s rural Appalachia. There, they discover a small community haunted by witches, led by a local devil with a troubling connection to Hellboy’s past: the Crooked Man.
We have learned that, following the recent failure of the 2019 David Harbour-led Hellboy reboot, Millennium Media is looking to give the IP another shot and is actively developing a new live-action Hellboy film, one which has already been written with a director attached.
Brian Taylor has been chosen to direct the new Hellboy film. Taylor is no stranger to developing comic book properties, having co-written the screenplay for 2010’s Jonah Hex. More notably, Brian Taylor co-directed Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, the 2011 sequel to Sony’s original film which saw Nicolas Cage return as the titular Rider, with fellow filmmaker Mark Neveldine. The two long-time friends, credited as Neveldine/Taylor, united in the early 2000s and first burst onto the scene with the Jason Statham action flick Crank, proving that their high-adrenaline filmmaking style was one-of-a-kind. The duo would go on to direct and write the insane sequel Crank: High Voltage and 2009’s Gamer starring Gerald Butler.
Following the release of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Brian Taylor has mostly worked in television as showrunner on Syfy’s Happy!, which follows an injured hitman (Christopher Meloni) who befriends his kidnapped daughter’s imaginary friend, a perky blue flying unicorn. Taylor also wrote alongside comic legend Grant Morrison on the pilot for Peacock’s Brave New World, a dystopian sci-fi series led by Alden Ehrenreich, Jessica Brown Findlay, and Harry Lloyd. More recently, Grant Morrison’s famed comic runs on Superman and Batman were cited as main inspirations for James Gunn and Peter Safran’s new DCU film slate for Warner Bros.
Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and horror/fantasy author Christopher Golden will be receiving story credits on this new Hellboy reboot. However, it is unknown if either of them contributed to the screenplay or if they are receiving credits for their past work on the character. Golden famously wrote three canon Hellboy novels with Mignola’s approval. Fans should note that Mignola and Golden created another series for Dark Horse comics titled Baltimore, which is part of their shared horror universe called the Outerverse. Golden also reportedly did some uncredited rewrites on the 2019 reboot.
Sources say the current working title for this new film adaptation is Hellboy: The Crooked Man, although it is unknown if that will be the official title and if The Crooked Man story is what the reboot will be based on. Hellboy: The Crooked Man is a 3-issue miniseries that debuted in April 2011. The miniseries follows Hellboy in 1956, somewhere in the mountains of West Virginia, as he encounters Tom, a man who in his youth sold his soul to a backwoods demon known as the Crooked Man. Together, they travel back into the dark heart of the Appalachian mountains to confront the demon and see if Tom’s soul can be saved. Plot details for this new Hellboy film are currently under wraps so it cannot be said if they will actually adapt this story or how accurate it will be to the source material if they do.
This latest live-action Hellboy reboot is far into development as filming is already planned to begin this April in Bulgaria. Millennium Media has already begun using production studios in the country for their upcoming live-action Red Sonja film from director M.J. Bassett and starring Matilda Lutz in the titular role. They are currently in the casting stages, so fans should expect to hear mor over the next few weeks as they prepare for this potential April production start. 2019’s Hellboy, in an effort to distinguish itself from the two Guillermo del Toro films, left out key characters from the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.), like Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and Johann Kraus. The reboot did, however, include Ben Daimio the werejaguar, Lobster Johnson, and Alice Monaghan. It is likely that this new Hellboy film would want to feature more recognizable characters and monsters from the character’s lore.
This new Hellboy film is expected to be another reboot, so it is unlikely that either Ron Perlman or David Harbour would reprise the main role. This is especially the case for Harbour, as not only was his Hellboy reboot a critical and financial failure, earning $55 million at the worldwide box office on a production budget of $50 million, but the actor is preparing for a busy summer as he will be filming both Stranger Things Season 5 and Marvel Studios’ Thunderbolts at the same time. Thunderbolts will see Harbour reprise his role from Black Widow, the Red Guardian, in a new espionage team of morally gray characters featuring Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), Ghost (Hannah John-Kamen), Taskmaster (Olga Kurylenko), U.S. Agent (Wyatt Russell), Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh), and Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
Similarly, there is currently no distributor attached to this new Hellboy film. While Lionsgate distributed 2019’s Hellboy for Millennium Media, it is doubtful that most Hollywood studios would want to invest in the franchise again. Given the IP’s history of dismal box office records, it seems more likely that Millennium will look towards selling this new Hellboy reboot to a streaming service, and I would personally label Netflix, Amazon, and Peacock all as the potential major contenders, should this be a title they feel is financially viable following how the property’s demand has lessened after Neil Marshall’s 2019 film. Finally, sources say they are looking to cast an actor in their 20s to 30s for Hellboy.