Hellboy, created in 1993 by Mike Mignola, probably isn’t the first or most popular fictional character that comes to your mind when you think about superheroes. But despite somehow being on the sidelines of the comic-book world, he did receive moderate success and even managed to get three live-action movies. Hellboy’s first appearance was in Dark Horse Comics’ San Diego Comic-Con Comics #2 and since then, the character gathered quite the fanbase due to his relatively unique origin story and well-established world.
In this article, we’re not going to focus on Hellboy’s comics, rather we’re going to focus on his movies. We’ve already mentioned that Hellboy has been adapted into three movies so far. The timeline isn’t that confusing but still, we decided to sit down and write an in-depth guide dedicated to all Hellboy movies. So, if you want to find out in what order to watch the Hellboy movies, and how many are there, stay with us and keep reading!
Hellboy Watch Order At A Glance
Hellboy series watch order is uncomplicated and pretty straightforward. It follows the chronological order in which the Hellboy movies were released starting with the first Hellboy movie in 2004 and ending with the Golden Army released in 2008. There are three movies in which Hellboy appears, with the third being a reboot released in 2019.
- Hellboy (2004)
- Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
- Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen
1. Hellboy (2004)
The first Hellboy movie on our list was released in 2004, written and directed by Guillermo del Toro, and starring Ron Perlman (Hellboy), Doug Jones (Abe Sapien), and Selma Blair (Liz Sherman). Ron Perlman was perfect for the role of Hellboy and the character today is hard to imagine without Perlman being somehow tied to him. On its release, Hellboy was a bit controversial due to having “Hell” in the name, and some theaters even dropped it and outright refused to screen it. Despite that, the movie was a success both cinematically and commercially.
The First Hellboy movie opens up with the Nazis trying to open, basically a portal to Hell (of course..) with the help of a Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin and his disciples Kroenen and Haupstein. The experiment goes wrong as these things usually do. Their plans were foiled by Trevor Bruttenholm (John Hunt) and Allied forces. After the Nazi cleanup, in the ruins, a small infant was discovered.
It resembled a demon and its right hand was completely made of stone (Hand of Doom). Bruttenholm decided to adopt the demon child and dubbed him Hellboy. That act alone completely changed the course of Hellboy’s life. As he managed to build quite a career as the World’s Greatest Paranormal Investigator working for Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD).
There’s a time skip that leads us 60 years into the future. Kroenen and Haupstein are attempting to resurrect Grigori Rasputin. At first, Hellboy is sent to investigate an isolated incident at the Museum, where he discovers a demon named Samael. He defeats the creature but in the aftermath, Abe Sapien (Doug Jones) discovers that the creature Samael was resurrected by Rasputin.
Rasputin did not stop there though, he managed to split Samael’s essence and imbue it with reincarnation power which meant that every time one Samael’s Egg was destroyed the other one would instantly mature and hatch.
The first Hellboy movie was a success, thanks to Guillermo del Toro’s fantastic visuals, well-done action, and fantastic character writing. Ron Perlman managed to imbue Hellboy with humanity which we wouldn’t expect from basically a giant red demon. Guillermo del Toro did not capture the original dark and shadowy atmosphere that the comics had, he managed to create something different altogether.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
2. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
The sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army was released in 2008 and like the first movie, it was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro. The cast from the first film reprised their roles. Hellboy II was a commercial success and the movie was praised for its fantasy settings and Guillermo del Toro managed to outdo himself. I have to admit, Hellboy II: The Golden Army is one of my favorite comic-book movies. I liked that everything about the movie was art, the set, the costume design, and the creatures. It’s a beautiful movie with a plot that reminds you more of an RPG game than one of Mignola’s comics. And while we’re talking about the beauty of the movie, Hellboy II did receive an Oscar nomination for the best makeup.
In the opening scenes of Hellboy II, we see a young Hellboy listening to a bedtime story, Bruttenholm is describing a war that happened between humans and fantasy creatures. Like in every such scenario ever, humans managed to prevail over the fantasy creatures. Creatures pulled back into the forest but that did not mean that they gave up. Balor, king of elves made a deal with a goblin blacksmith who promised to build him a mechanical golden army which will be controlled by a golden crown that can only be worn by “a one of royal blood”.
Prince Nuada (Luke Goss) held a bitter resentment toward humanity and encouraged his father to destroy the humans with his newly built army. At first, Balor did exactly that but after he’s seen the destruction that his army left behind, he decided to form a truce with humans after all and split the crown that controls the army into three pieces. The deal was sealed, humans will stick to the cities, and creatures of magic will stick to the forests.
After hearing that Prince Nuada was extremely angry, he despised humanity so much that he doomed himself to exile.
There’s another time skip just like in the first Hellboy movie and in the present, we see that Prince Nuada has returned and he is trying to get locate a piece of a crown that commands the golden army. He gets one piece at an auction and unleashes tooth fairies on an unsuspecting crowd (who would have thought that tooth fairies can be horror creatures).
He returns to his father and murders him for the second piece of the crown, his twin sister Princess Nuala (Anna Walton) manages to escape with the third piece.
A lot is going in in this movie. A lot of heartbreak, a lot of good news. It has an overall bitter-sweet ending and that is what makes it great. It teaches us that sometimes great victories come at terrible losses. If you want to check out this movie because you love Mignola’s writing, you should perhaps skip this one since it draws very little from the original comics and the atmosphere of the movie couldn’t be farther from the source material.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime
3. Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen (2019)
Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen was initially planned to be a sequel to Hellboy II: The Golden Army but Guillermo del Toro wasn’t offered to direct it and Ron Perlman refused to return to his role without del Toro, the movie was reclassified as a reboot instead. Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen underwent some major technical changes, it was directed by Neil Marshal and David Harbour took on the role of a Hellboy starring in the movie along with Milla Jovovich and Ian McShane.
Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen opens up with flashbacks to 517 A.D. Vivienne Nimue (Milla Jovovich), Blood Queen and a powerful witch who unleashed a plague on England. King Arthur (Mark Stanley) managed to slay her with Excalibur and the help of her coven-sister Ganeida (Penelope Mitchell).
Back in the present Hellboy is enjoying his stay in Mexico up to a point when he accidentally slays Esteban Ruiz (Mario de la Rosa), a fellow paranormal investigator turned vampire. Esteban’s last words were prophetic, he warned Hellboy about incoming doom. Hellboy returns to B.P.R.D headquarters and along with his adoptive father Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane) journeys to England to investigate Nimue.
Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen was a huge flop. Even though David Harbour was a superb Hellboy everything else about to movie was bad. It tried hard to be a modern action superhero movie, but it failed and in the meantime, it lost everything that made the original Hellboy so great.
Where to watch: Apple TV
Hellboy watch order with animated movies
Along with 2 live-action movies, 2 animated movies have been released, Hellboy: Sword of Storms (2006) and Hellboy: Blood and Iron (2007). Animated movies had more ties to Mignola’s comics than the movies did. The events of the Sword of Storms and Blood and Iron are set before the events of the first movie from 2004. Ron Perlman, Doug Jones, and Selma Blair returned to voice their respective characters.
The chronological watch order of Hellboy movies (both live-action and animated) is as follows:
- Hellboy: Sword of Storms (2006)
- Hellboy: Blood and Iron (2007)
- Hellboy (2004)
- Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
- Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen (2019)
When it comes to Hellboy: Rise of the Blood Queen from 2019. you can watch it before or after the rest of the movies, it doesn’t really matter since it’s not connected to the storylines of either Hellboy or Hellboy 2
Is Hellboy released in 2019 a remake or sequel?
Hellboy released in 2019 is not a sequel to the original two movies it is a remake. Originally it was planned as a sequel to Hellboy: The Golden Army but since del Toro and Perlman had nothing to do with the film it was rebooted.
Is there a new Hellboy movie coming out?
As far as we know new Hellboy movie is not coming out any time soon. The 2019 reboot failed, and I doubt someone else will pick up the franchise anytime soon. Ron Pearlman however did say that even though he is getting old he is always down to play Hellboy because he “owes it to the fans”.
And that would be all, now you know how many Hellboy movies are there and we hope you will enjoy them as much as we did.