The rebooted Hellboy franchise certainly has high hopes for a future with three major reveals care of the final minutes of the film and the two post-credits stingers–but they might be a little tricky to pick up on if you’re not familiar with the Hellboy comics.
Don’t worry–that’s what we’re here for.
Major Hellboy spoilers to follow, so please, watch your step.
Fans of the original Hellboy film by Guillermo Del Toro will notice a major and obvious absence in this new take on the universe–the dynamic duo of “red and blue,” Hellboy and Abe Sapien, is no longer. In this incarnation of the BPRD, Abe was never actually discovered, never became an agent, and never had a friendship with Dr. Broom or Hellboy at all.
At least, not yet. The final moments of the film feature Hellboy, Ben, and Alice clear out a base run by the occult-worshiping Oannus Society, a Hellboy comics deep-cut that actually ties into Abe’s original origin story. Whatever brought them to the base is a mystery, but the team makes relatively short work of all the members as they clear each room. Finally, as the dust settles, they find themselves in a warehouse-like chamber where a strange water-filled tube is propped against the wall. The name plaque at the bottom reads “Ichthyo Sapien.”
As the team leans in closer, a familiar webbed hand reaches up, inside of the tube, and slaps against the glass.
We don’t actually see any more of Abe in the scene, and we don’t get any indication of the team’s reaction to him in that moment, but we do know that he’s here in one form or another. It certainly seems like the franchise is going to be taking a bit more of its Abe cues from the comics, however, so we’re likely going to learn that he was once human back in Victorian times, transformed into a monster during an arcane ritual.
Definitely a pretty far cry from the beloved David Hyde Pierce/Doug Jones collaboration in Del Toro’s version, but hey, at least he’s here at all.
What about Lobster Johnson?
The first post credits scene is another playful nod to Hellboy comics fans featuring the ghost of Lobster Johnson, a character who made a brief cameo in the retold origin story of Hellboy’s birth during WW2.
In Hellboy comics, Lobster Johnson is actually the star of his own comic book series–of which Hellboy himself is a huge, huge fan. The comics-within-the-comics were based on Johnson’s real life WW2 exploits, and his ghost does occasionally crop up to do what he does best: kill Nazis.
There isn’t a ton of information to dissect in this particular scene, but it is pretty cute to know that this Hellboy still loves his favorite superhero/historical figure, and that Lobster’s ghost is definitely still hanging out.
One More Comic Book Cameo
The final stinger is a surprisingly meaty one, considering it’s all the way at the very end of the credits. It features a single shot of the horrifying Baba Yaga, speaking directly into the camera–or, well, to someone sitting across from her table, but who’s perspective the camera is occupying.
She monologues about wanting Hellboy’s eye–apparently this is a plight the person she’s speaking to can sympathize with in one way or another–and she’s going to send this person to get it for her. If they’re successful, she’ll grant them what they’ve always wanted: the ability to die.
The scene cuts before the person is revealed, but Hellboy comics fans will likely be able to make the connection. If a sequel ever happens, we’re likely going to see the live action arrival of Edward Grey, a long standing Hellboy side character who is, you guessed it, immortal and not always the most stoked on that fact.
Strangely, in the comics, Grey isn’t strictly speaking a villain–he’s a renowned paranormal investigator who has been cursed with immortality for hundreds of years, but he’s not necessarily evil or good. He actually works with Hellboy on occasion, seeing them as kindred spirits trying to shirk their destinies–so, really, who knows what will happen when and if a Hellboy 2 hits theaters. Will Grey be a villain? He’s he going to try and double cross Baba to help Hellboy out?
Your guess is as good as ours.