Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has made a name for himself in and around the comics world on a variety of projects, but it's his horned, cigar-chomping demon with a heart of gold that's made him one of the most celebrated creators in the biz. After shepherding his creation to the live-action world alongside director Guillermo del Toro, Mignola is concentrating his efforts on Hellboy's adventures in print these days — though he's hoping to see a third film in del Toro's "Hellboy" movie universe just as much as anyone.
During this weekend's C2E2 convention in Chicago, Mignola sat down with MTV News for a long discussion of all things Hellboy, and revealed how one of the fan-favorite characters of Hellboy's universe almost made his big-screen debut in "Hellboy II: The Golden Army."
"Emotionally, it's very complicated," said Mignola of handing over the reins of his most popular creation to the "Pan's Labyrinth" filmmaker. "It's very easy to say, 'Go do whatever you want, I've done it my way, you do it yours,' but there are days when it's frustrating — because you've handed over the keys to this other guy and you can't take them back."
"Fortunately, Del Toro and I are friends and colleagues, and he listens to me — but when we went into the second movie, it became very clear to me that he had taken ownership of these characters," he explained. "So the second film, to me, is much more of a del Toro picture, as it should be. He made these little changes with the characters in the first film, so the second film, rather than referencing the comic, was a sequel to the first film and dealt with those changes he made to the Hellboy universe."
Still, Mignola insists that none of this was unexpected when he agreed to let Del Toro bring Hellboy into Hollywood.
"It's fine, but I have a little distance from it as the films go forward, because the characters do become more and more different from my original characters," he said. "But this is all stuff I knew would happen. When you're dealing with a really creative guy like Guillermo, you would be doing the film a disservice by trying to tie his hands. The best thing you can do is to let him run with it."
As to whether we'll ever see the third chapter in Del Toro's planned "Hellboy" trilogy, Mignola said there's been some discussion of what a third film include, but no official "Hellboy 3" planning session at this point. And even if it did appear on the horizon, the comic creator said he's not sure what he'd even suggest, given Del Toro's singular vision for the characters on the big screen.
He also doesn't want to ruin any surprises for fans of the comic, either.
"We did sit down and discuss what the second picture should be, but the third one... [Del Toro] has said at various times that it's a trilogy, so you're wrapping it up with that one," said Mignola. "We've talked about it, but we talked about it when we were on the first film, and then on the second film, too. It's just waiting for him to say he wants to make it."
"The only thing I would be very careful about is that I don't want to tell him how I'm ending the series, because I don't want him to do it before I get to it," he laughed.
Still, Mignola offered up some thoughts about Del Toro's thinking when it came to elements from the comics that have yet to show up in the "Hellboy" movie universe.
"He has so many ideas, and as they don't fit into the one film, he tries to put them into the next, and as they don't fit into the second film, he wants to put them into the third film — so if he puts everything into the third film that he's talked about, it's going to be a 92-hour 'Hellboy' movie," he joked.
One of those things Del Toro would like to include, according to Mignola, is fan-favorite character Lobster Johnson, a mysterious, powerful secret agent who managed supernatural threats prior to Hellboy's arrival.
"Lobster Johnson was mentioned as one of the 200 different things he wants to put in 'Hellboy 3,' said Mignola. "Actually, there was a day when the discussion involved putting Lobster Johnson into the second 'Hellboy' picture, because the Johann Krauss character turned out to be more expensive to do than anticipated. So, I got a call asking if they could put Lobster Johnson into the picture instead of Johann."
"I asked if they were going to completely rewrite it, and told them they couldn't just swap out one for the other — they're two different characters," he remembered.
In the end, despite his distance from Hellboy's adventures on the big screen, Mignola said he's just as eager to see a third "Hellboy" movie as anyone else.
"I'd love to see it happen one of these days," he said.
You can catch the adventures of Hellboy and the rest of B.P.R.D. every month in comics, courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.
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