Hellboy Creator Discusses His Involvement In The Reboot, The R-Rating, And A Cinematic Universe

Mike Mignola might not be the most well known name in comics, but he’s up there. Early in his career, the writer/artist worked as an inker at Marvel on titles such as Daredevil, Power Man and Iron Fist, The Incredible Hulk, Alpha Flight, and even a Rocket Raccoon limited series. He also did some work at DC, including covers for classic Batman stories such as A Death In The Family, and co-creating Gotham by Gaslight. Even with his work at the Big Two, Mignola is best known for creating Hellboy and the many spinoffs including Abe Sapien, Lobster Johnson, and B.R.P.D., among others.

Mignola has been one of the driving forces behind the new Hellboy reboot starring David Harbour as the title character — which has dropped the subtitle, Rise of the Blood Queen, according to IGN — after being closely involved in the production of Guillermo del Toro’s two Hellboy films. The Verge recently caught up with Mignola, discussing current comic projects and the aforementioned Hellboy reboot. First, Mignola described his level of involvement in the new Hellboy feature:

“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. I really just get questions about how things work, and while I’m not doing a lot, I’ve been talking with the creature-design guy and the makeup guy to get the look of Hellboy and his hand, and things like that.”

I was under the impression Mignola was more involved in this reboot than del Toro’s previous two films, but apparently that assumption was incorrect. It seems Mignola is intentionally pulling back a bit and giving more creative power to director Neil Marshall (The Descent).

The Verge next asked what Mignola and the team are hoping an R rating will bring to the new film, in comparison to del Toro’s version:

“That’s been the feeling from day one. It’ll lean in the horror direction, more so than the fantasy direction del Toro was doing. When Neil 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.

It’s not that we want to wallow in blood, but when you do a PG-13 rating, you bang your head into rules about how intense certain things can be. I think it helps that Deadpool and Logan were R-rated, and what I’ve been telling people is that the tone of it will be much more the Logan approach: lean, dark, tough, and not something that stops to show limbs flying through the air.”

I like what Mignola is saying about both horror and Logan when he explains how the reboot will benefit from an R rating. The film is certainly in good hands, as though I have never seen The Descent, Marshall has also directed some killer episodes of NBC’s horror and comic driven Constantine, NBC’s Hannibal, Game of Thrones, and even Westworld, which all have that gritty darkness and tone one expects from the new Hellboy reboot.

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