The short answer: they wouldn’t do a third movie without Guillermo.
Hellboy, a reboot of a moderately successful and well-loved set of a film adaptations, is not what some fans might have wanted from the franchise. Instead, they probably wanted a sequel to Hellboy II: The Golden Army. One such fan was Ron Perlman himself, who has regularly expressed interest in returning to the role of the Big Red hero.
But according to interviews conducted by Collider, those involved in producing the Hellboy movies decided that, without the original director on board, it just wasn’t going to happen.
Here’s what Lloyd Levin, producer on the franchise since its first film, said:
“For years, the second one came out in , and during that time the idea of a third would’ve been very very exciting. It was up to Guillermo and he ultimately decided that this was behind him. He was onto other things. So we were able to get a hold of the rights. A third without Guillermo was unthinkable and without Ron was unthinkable so you have over 20 years worth of stories and dozens of characters and it just felt like there was so much more of the Hellboy, Mignola-verse to explore. So we talked about it and faced with no opportunity to do a third, the only opportunity was to reboot.”
All in all, that’s a fairly respectful way to go about doing it. This new take on Hellboy is taking the opportunity afforded by the reboot to go in a different direction, too, with a darker and more self-consciously faithful approach.
This new Hellboy, which stars David Harbour, is out in cinemas in April.