In a mirroring of the comic book status quo, a new Hellboy film starring David Harbour as the title character is slated for release on April 12th. Nestled between Shazam! a week earlier and Avengers: Endgame later in the month, the release schedule once again pits Mike Mignola s creation between the big-budget titans of the Big Two comic book publishing companies. And as Mignola told Rotten Tomatoes Thursday night, Hellboy fans are going to see Hellboy. It s the same attitude that kept the Hellboy comics alive and kicking against the forces of evil for 25 years.Nonetheless, Lionsgate released a new red band trailer full of new material to entice audiences with a mix of humor, dark visions, and blood-splatter. They also invited us to see the trailer and briefly talk with Mignola and star Milla Jovovich, who could not be more excited for the film. I thought it was amazing, she said, revealing she has seen the finished film. It s so sweet. I don t want to use the word cute, but David is so adorable. You come off very well, also, added Mignola.Their insights helped us take a good look at the trailer and glean some interesting things about the film and how it is differs from the comic book and the earlier Hellboy films. Here are five things we learned.Hellboy s Origin Is Teased Throughout(Photo by Lionsgate)The trailer opens with another telling of Hellboy s origin. Summoned by Rasputin and his Nazi allies near the end of World War II, Hellboy came to Earth as the intended destroyer of worlds. But when Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane) and the US Army arrived on site, they found an adorable demon child. Bruttenholm decided to raise the lad himself, leading to the creation of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (or BPRD). Though covered in great detail in the first Hellboy film, it is an important detail referenced in just about every long-form Hellboy story.And if you re an avid watcher of Guillermo del Toro s Hellboy, you ll notice certain differences in the new film s telling of the character s arrival on Earth. [Director Neil Marshall] wanted to do his version [of the origin], said Mignola. He also mentioned scenes of Hellboy s early days will be sprinkled throughout the film, as opposed to the way del Toro opened his film with Hellboy s arrival. He did not, however, confirm the presence of pancakes a key moment in Hellboy s development fans definitely want to see on screen.The Film Introduces A New Set Of Characters(Photo by Summit Entertainment)One thing fans will notice immediately is the lack of certain key characters like Abe Sapien (played by Doug Jones in the del Toro films), Liz Sherman (Selma Blair), and Johann Krauss (voiced by Seth MacFarlane in Hellboy II: The Golden Army). It was a conscious decision from the moment it was decided to reboot the film series instead of soldiering on with a del Toro-less Hellboy III. And once the choice was made, Mignola felt it was important not to repeat too many ideas from the earlier cycle.Instead, the film introduces Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), a stalwart BPRD character despite a certain affliction. As seen in the trailer, he can go from man to were-jaguar with just a hit or two from Hellboy s Red Right Hand an ability that will definitely come in handy when they fight that rhinoceros creature.We also get a few glimpses of Sasha Lane s Alice Monaghan in the trailer. Introduced in the classic Hellboy story The Corpse, she has mysterious connections to the fairy realm that ultimately allow her to become its queen. But for the purposes of the film, she is Hellboy s traveling companion and not his love interest, as Lane noted at New York Comic Con last year. And it is always possible she will fulfill her destiny by the film s conclusion.(Photo by Lionsgate)The Baba Yaga, glimpsed in her chicken-legged house, has a long history with Hellboy. Hopefully some of it will be touched upon as she was an early advocate of the wave of destruction Hellboy is supposed to bring upon the world.Another character introduced in the trailer is Lady Hatton (Sophie Okonedo). In the comics, she is a member of the Osiris Club and yet another person excited for Hellboy to embrace his destiny which includes him fulfilling the prophecy of King Arthur s return to England. It is, of course, unclear how closely the film s version of Lady Hatton will skew to the comics, but considering she is seen telling Hellboy about his origins, we re going to guess she is interested in his destiny.And while Thomas Haden Church is reportedly set to play 1940s adventurer Lobster Johnson, Mignola declined to confirm his presence, saying instead that more Hellboy films means more chances for the fan-favorite character to make his debut.It Follows The Wild Hunt Story From The Comics(Photo by Lionsgate)The film is primarily based on the 2008-2009 story The Wild Hunt. In it, an unemployed Hellboy answers an invitation to join a group of British nobleman known as The Wild Hunt glimpsed in the trailer as the people riding on horseback with Hellboy who immediately betray his trust because, as they put it, the devil shall never sit on the throne of England. Meanwhile, the death of the Irish Fairy king leaves the Fairy folk anxious about the resurrection of the Blood Queen Nimue. Once she rises, she will lead the folk into a war against Hellboy and the world. Also, that bit of business about Hellboy s connection to King Arthur? It could either save the world or lead Hellboy to embrace his destiny.Considering the prominent shot of Hellboy picking up a sword and it bursting into flames, we re going to assume that aspect of the storyline will be part of the film. In the comic book, he is faced with the choice to take hold of Excalibur. According to Mignola, There s an arc that mimics the comic. But as he explained, Marshall wanted to add aspects of other tales as well. Del Toro did the same thing incorporating much of The Corpse into the first Hellboy, but deleting Alice s role in it. This is why Bruttenholm, long dead by the time of The Wild Hunt in the comics, appears in the film. And as The Wild Hunt ends on something of a stalemate, elements from the subsequent tales, The Storm and The Fury, will no doubt help the film reach a more final conclusion. We also expect some of Daimio s backstory, explored in the BPRD comic books, will factor in as well.Nimue Is Not A Clear-Cut Villain (Maybe)(Photo by Lionsgate)If there is one thing Jovovich is sure of about Nimue, it is that she started from a good place. She was a witch in Arthur s day who became involved with the wizard Merlin. She eventually learned all of his secrets and imprisoned him. Fearing her power, the other witches of the day murdered her. At least, that s how it went down in the comics. Jovovich would not confirm anything about Nimue s past in the film except that she was betrayed, but she did offer this appraisal of her character: She s the only sane person in this movie. From the trailer, we get the sense that her grudge is with England itself Bruttenholm says as much which would suggest Arthur and his descendants would be prime targets. But it is also clear she adores Hellboy. Then again, who wouldn t? He s muscley, red, and fated to end the world.Not that Hellboy is interested in any of her ambitions, but at least it will lead to some cool, apocalyptic scenes.London Gets Trashed(Photo by Lionsgate)While neither Mignola nor Jovovich spoke to this point, we can t help but notice the damage London takes throughout the trailer. A hellacious storm brews above the city skies and a creature which may or may not be Nimue herself demolishes the Tower Bridge. Hellboy comics typically avoid that level of destruction Mignola leaves that to the BPRD spin0ff series but it is nice to see some big stakes realized, even if Hellboy quips that they are not relatable.Then there s that shot late in the trailer of Hellboy riding a dragon across a hellish landscape. The river of fire sure looks like the course of the Thames to us. But as Hellboy fans know, any shot of the character with his horns and crown is probably a prophetic vision and not reality. But it is always possible Nimue will tempt him into embracing his apocalyptic destiny. Or, alternatively, the capital of Hell looks just like London.Hellboy opens everywhere on April 12.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.
(Photo by Matt Sayles/The CW)After what seems like ages, but has actually only been a little less than a year, Stargirl returns to The CW on August 10. And though fans keenly felt those months between seasons, for since Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) and her friends in the Justice Society of America, only a few weeks have passed since they effectively ended the threat of an older generation of supervillains in season 1’s conclusion. Her greatest challenge now is surviving summer school. The decision to pick up so shortly after season 1 was just one of the few things Rotten Tomatoes learned during a press day with Bassinger, fellow stars Yvette Monreal, Anjelika Washington, Cameron Gellman, Amy Smart, Luke Wilson, and executive producer Geoff Johns. We’ve rounded up the key details to know (or recall) before you sit down to watch the season 2 premiere.1. Summer School Starts NowSummer school will be big part of Courtney’s plight in the new season. So much so that the second year is even subtitled “Summer School” – a choice Johns joked was part of changing the episodic naming convention.“[In] the first season, every episode was named after one of the characters, one of our cast. I think we would have run out of characters by episode four or five [this season] or strained to do that,” Johns said. “And we wanted to shake it up. I wanted to do a subtitle like this with the Stargirl movie — like, the sequel to Stargirl.”As it happens, Johns was developing a feature with the character — one of his own contributions to the DC Comics library — for quite some time before the opportunity to make a series appeared.“It’s also is a lot easier to name the episodes once we decide on a subtitle,” he said. So, instead of individual episode titles, each is a chapter of the “Summer School” story. “We’re telling a serialized story — 13 chapters, rather than single episodes,” Johns explained.For Courtney’s part, that story begins with her eagerness to be Stargirl.“It gets her into trouble sometimes, like, how non-reluctant she is,” Bassinger said. From the very beginning, she is looking for villains — looking for trouble — even though there are none, because she just loves being a superhero so freaking much. And it’s fun to have that. Just as an actor, it’s fun to play such a positive person, because I feel like it brings positivity to me, too, personally.”Courtney will need that positivity as her eagerness leads to summer school and, of course, those villains she hoped to find.2. The Villains Take Stargirl to a Darker Place(Photo by The CW)In lieu of the Injustice Society, the majority of whom were defeated last year, Courtney and the JSA will face a darker form of villainy via two characters literally shrouded in darkness: Eclipso and The Shade (pictured). The latter, a shadow wielding Flash villain created by Gardner Fox and Harold Wilson Sharp in 1942, was a favorite of Stargirl producer James Dale Robinson – so much so, in fact, he spent much of the 1990s writing him as a sort of “anti-villain” in the pages of DC’s Starman comic book. Johns also said he pitched the character on the first day they began discussing the Stargirl TV series.“We never had plans to bring him into season 1, clearly, but we planted him in that mural with all the ISA. We wanted to elevate The Shade and make him feel special because he is a special character,” Johns said. “James took him in the ’90s and the 2000s and really gave him a personality and made him an interesting, complex character.”Johns was also pleased to find the character in the form of actor Jonathan Cake, who he said really “highlights” the layers of the character as developed by Robinson two-plus decades ago.(Photo by Tina Rowden/The CW )The other villain, Eclipso, is, “a demonic force in the same vein as a Freddy Krueger or a Pennywise,” according to Johns.The character, created by Bob Haney and Lee Elias in the 1963, evolved over the decades from petty villain into a force of darkness and evil who uses people s own regrets and doubts to control them. He also famously slaughtered an entire Justice League team. But for the purposes of Stargirl, at least as the season begins, he is a far more subtle presence voiced by Nick Tarabay. Although, both actor and character will eventually be seen in what Wilson described as a “really cool” costume (seen above in this first-look image).“When he finally does set foot in Blue Valley for real, and you see him manifest, it felt deserved, it felt scary, and it felt like everything had changed,” Johns added.The decision to focus on villains powered by darkness was a purposeful choice on the part of the production. As Johns explained, it was all about darkness versus light, which is very perfect for somebody like Stargirl. In terms of the characters, he felt it was important to “go up against something like that this season — something that gets inside their heads and tries to expose their fears and their regrets and their guilt and use it against them — and see if these heroes can rise up and stop it.”It means the show will shift in tone a bit, but Johns assured everyone Stargirl is still “the same show with the same characters that love each other and want to help each other at their core and want to be good and do good and love and be loved and still have humor and heart and all of that.”3. And the Darkness Within Will Come To Light(Photo by The CW)Since Eclipso preys on fear and regret, some of the personal stories only teased in the first season will get examined across the “Summer School” story.For Monreal’s character, Yolanda, there’s still all the weight of her actions before Courtney came to town. Add to that the consequences of killing Brainwave last season and a new dimension from which to examine it: her faith.“From the very start, Yolanda’s just really huge on her Catholicism,” Monreal explained. And with that background, the guilt she continues to feel can be interpreted as mortal sins — something which could make her susceptible to certain influences. “There’s all this judgment that she feels, especially after the mistake that she made and then after she killed Brainwave. It adds a psychological factor. And it’s like, do or die. She has to escape this psychological factor.”(Photo by Bob Mahoney/The CW)Meanwhile, Beth (Washington), still faces a strained relationship with her parents — based on their appearances in season 1, they don’t seem to like their energetic daughter very much. But Washington teased Beth’s parents will “learn a lot about Beth in the best ways.” She also said the most exciting element she cannot wait for viewers to see is the way Beth “learns what is her light and how she contributes to her team.”Rick (Gellman) still has a hard time feeling at ease in Blue Valley, but he may have bonded with a certain character from season 1 that will prove surprising. Oh, and that’s not a tease about a possible relationship between Rick and Beth. Although Johns said their friendship (or otherwise) is “very deep,” he also said “the slow developing romance[s] in the show is just part of the show. It’s the show’s storytelling.”It also proved an asset as the show went back into production amid COVID-19 lockdowns and safety protocols. Even the more casual intimacy had to be carefully coordinated to protect the actors. “We needed a rapid test right before a hug,” Smart said.“Now we fist bump and you just try and put that same emotion into it. I think we did OK,” Wilson quipped.Gellman felt the emphasis on ideas other than teen romance is one of the show s strengths: “[We] dig into everybody’s individual mission and challenge. [That might] get lost on the show if we were constantly looking at dating and breakups and feelings hurt and all of that.”4. Joel McHale Is Part of a Slow-Burn Storyline(Photo by The CW)As viewers will recall from the end of season 1, Joel McHale’s character, Starman Sylvester Pemberton, is seemingly not as dead as he appeared to be in the pilot. McHale will be seen in season 2, but Johns warned those in attendance that his appearances will be a part of a slow-burning storyline.“In the best comic books, I always loved the long brewing subplots. And the return of Starman, Sylvester Pemberton, is one of those,” he explained. Part of the brewing process is a flashback in episode 209 which features a “Justice Society flashback with the original members, with Luke and Joel and the other JSA founders.” This episode will also feature John Wesley Shipp as the Jay Garrick of Courtney’s Earth (aka “Earth-2” per the conclusion of the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover event) — a version of the character he currently plays on The Flash.Shipp’s appearance is the first acknowledgement of just how close Stargirl is to the Arrowverse.“To have John play Jay Garrick, The Flash, in Stargirl connects our universe directly with the other shows and also shows that we’re part of a grander universe,” Johns said. He also noted that maintaining the casting across the two programs also “opens up the door to opportunities for us to eventually interact with those characters. And that was important. Just like the comics.” From his comments on the matter, it was clear he is interested in continuing the Arrowverse crossover tradition — although he added, “when we eventually do do it, we’ll do it in a hopefully very special Stargirl way.”As for McHale? Johns teased there will be more of him in “the latter half of the season.”5. There Will Be a Third Season(Photo by The CW)Now that Stargirl is firmly a CW show — its first season was originally produced for the now-defunct DC Universe streaming service — it enjoys one of the network’s great benefits in an early season 3 renewal. As with “Summer School,” it will get a subtitle. Johns even said, “You’ll see by the end of season 2 what that is.”According to Johns, the writing team is hard at work on the scripts. We got picked up almost immediately for the third season. We didn’t have to wait for it to air. I think everybody’s super excited. And it’s helped us jump right back into it, he said. For me personally, there’s nothing else I’d rather do more than this. Stargirl returns on Tuesday, August 10 at 8/7C on The CW.
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