Hellboy: The Crooked Man Movie Reboot Confirmed, With Brian Taylor Set To Direct

Hellboy is officially headed back to the big screen. Deadline confirms that a reboot of the demonic hero, titled "Hellboy: The Crooked Man," is in the works at Millennium Media and Dark Horse Entertainment. The news was first broken by Discussing Film.

"The Crooked Man" will feature the third live-action iteration of Hellboy, following the ones played by Ron Perlman (in Guillermo del Toro's duology) and David Harbour (in Neil Marshall's 2019 reboot). The script is being co-written by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and his frequent collaborator Christopher Golden. Brian Taylor ("Crank," "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) is set to direct. Deadline confirms that production will start in Bulgaria come March and casting conversations are well underway; according to Discussing Film, the studio is seeking a younger actor in their 20s or 30s to play the new Hellboy. That's because "The Crooked Man" takes place at an earlier point in Hellboy's life than previous movies — the 1950s, to be precise.

Adapted from the comic storyline of the same name, "The Crooked Man" sees Hellboy and another "rookie" agent of the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) stranded in Appalachia, where they run afoul of a witch coven led by a figure from Hellboy's past. In the comics, "The Crooked Man" is Jeremiah Witkins, an arms dealer who sold weapons to both sides of the American Revolution and Civil War. He was eventually hanged but then clawed his way back from Hell thanks to a deal with the Devil. His moniker is not only because of his shady morality, but because his broken neck didn't heal.

Why another Hellboy reboot?

Millennium Media President Jeffrey Greenstein gave potential distributors this pitch (via Deadline):

"'The Crooked Man' is a departure from all previous 'Hellboy' films where Mike Mignola and the creator of the comics will finally shepherd an authentic version of his stories and characters in film form."

You don't have to read too far between the lines to understand the sudden turnaround on this reboot. The 2019 "Hellboy" was a disaster, no two ways about it. Its makers, though, clearly wanted it to spawn sequels, if not a whole cinematic universe. That's why it was loaded with sequel bait, wasting valuable time teasing other characters from Mignola's comics, like Abe Sapien and Lobster Johnson.

A sequel to the 2019 "Hellboy" is out of the question, given the critical thrashing and poor box office returns. Plus, star David Harbour doesn't have fond memories of the experience. However, Millennium, Dark Horse, and Mignola still want a "Hellboy" media franchise, so they're starting over from scratch.

Greenstein believes that, "Brian Taylor is an expert across the board, and I couldn't think of a better person to bring this story to life to show our audience this different and original Hellboy slate of films." I, however, see a director nowhere near the same league as Guillermo del Toro or even Neil Marshall.

Del Toro's never-to-be-completed "Hellboy" trilogy took many liberties with Mignola's source material — from an original storyline in the second movie, "The Golden Army," to pairing Hellboy up with the pyro-kinetic Liz Sherman (Selma Blair). It's been speculated that this is why Mignola now takes a more active role in "Hellboy" adaptations. Indeed, the 2019 "Hellboy" was a clumsy mash-up of comic stories he'd previously written.

"Hellboy" does deserve to be on the big screen, but there's such a thing as being too faithful to the source material.