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Hellboy's Biggest Unanswered Questions

Hellboy is a movie with a lot going on. So many details and characters are stuffed into its two-hour running time that it can be hard to keep up. Even if you pay close attention, the movie just doesn't offer answers for all the questions that it raises. Some of them are pretty basic, like what happens to the witch Ganeida (Penelope Mitchell) who just sort of disappears (but let's be real, Nimue probably killed her). Some of these bigger questions may grow out of sloppy writing, some of them could be deliberate choices about what's worth spending time on, and some of are definitely attempts to set up mysteries for potential sequels to solve. 

Whether there will actually be any sequels, given Hellboy's reception, is also a question we don't have the answer to. For now, however, we won't dwell on that. Instead, here are some of the questions that Hellboy raises without answering — along with some possible answers for the ones it's easier to speculate about.

Whose hand is that at the end of the movie?

In the final pre-credits scene, Hellboy, Alice Monaghan, and Ben Daimio invade a secret underground compound run by a shadowy organization called the Oannes Society. The scene takes place six months after the main action of the film, and reveals that Alice and Ben have joined the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense and fight alongside Hellboy regularly. It also shows how Ben now uses his were-jaguar form in the service of good, instead of injecting himself with drugs to keep the transformation at bay. All of that makes it an effective epilogue to the movie, but then the scene ends with what looks like a setup for the sequel. Alice finds a water tank labeled "Icthyo sapien" and draws Hellboy's attention to it. As they wonder what the name might mean, a webbed humanoid hand touches the glass from the inside.

Fans of the Hellboy comics and the original movies will recognize this hand as belonging to Abe Sapien, a highly intelligent amphibious humanoid and prominent member of the BPRD who was played by Doug Jones and voiced by David Hyde Pierce in the first two movies. Those who've read the comics will remember that Abe was discovered in a tank like this and brought into the BPRD. So if there is a sequel, we'll definitely see him on the team.

Who is talking to Baba Yaga in the post-credits scene?

After the credits end, we see Baba Yaga talking to someone, but we can't see who it is. She's still angry because Hellboy promised her an eye in return for the one she lost to him in battle, and he never gave it to her. She tells her unseen visitor that if they kill Hellboy and bring her his eye, she'll allow them to finally die. Going by the Hellboy comics, this has to be Koschei the Deathless, a figure from Slavic mythology who does Baba Yaga's bidding in the comics. Koschei can't die because his heart has been hidden, leaving him eternally tired and restless, and Baba gained control of him by finding and re-hiding his heart, which would give her the ability to promise his death.

On the other hand, it's possible that if there's a sequel, this won't turn out to be Koschei at all. There are plenty of immortal villains in the Hellboy comics, including Rasputin, who has a cameo in this Hellboy and was the main villain in the 2004 Hellboy. He has nothing to do with Baba Yaga in the comics, but there's no reason they couldn't add that connection if he was the one they wanted to bring into this continuity.

Why is Lobster Johnson still around after his death?

In a mid-credits scene, Hellboy is mourning his adoptive father in the cemetery when the Lobster appears and they have a conversation. Better known as Lobster Johnson, he's a pulp-style hero from the 1930s, played here by Thomas Haden Church. His only previous appearance in the movie was during the 1940s flashback to Hellboy's summoning by Nazis. In the modern-day graveyard scene he appears to be the same age, and then he reveals himself to be intangible, establishing him as a ghost. But Hellboy can't usually see ghosts, as we know from his scenes with Alice Monaghan, who can. So what gives Lobster the ability to look so solid to Hellboy and perhaps others?

In the comics, Lobster Johnson has made multiple appearances as a ghost, and in that form he can become solid and still use his weapons on living people. What makes him so special as a ghost has never been fully explained, even in the comics. Maybe if he comes back in a future movie this will be dealt with, but it's equally likely that his nature will remain somewhat mysterious. Even in death, the Lobster is a man of action, not of explanations.

Where did Gruagach originate?

Some background is given for the boar-faced monster known as the Gruagach. He was the changeling who tried to replace Alice Monaghan as a baby, but he was thwarted by Hellboy. But who and what was he before that, and what put him in that situation? Other than "He's a fairy spirit who used to be more powerful," the movie never really explains his true nature.

In the comics, he was originally a shape-shifting fae warrior, but his power was depleted when a curse banished him to a far realm and he was reduced to a shadow of his former self by the time he journeyed back. The piglike form he wears in the movie is identified in that story as belonging to a Fomorian giant named Grom. Gruagach is stuck in a diminished version of Grom's shape after his original confrontation with Hellboy, and we only see Grom's true form when Nimue grants him greater power late in the movie (power she soon takes away, of course).

Will Hellboy one day give in to temptation and bring about the Apocalypse?

Much of the movie deals with the Blood Queen Nimue tempting Hellboy to take up the sword Excalibur and help her bring about the end of the world. And as the Beast of the Apocalypse, after all, it is apparently his destiny to do so. Although he seems tempted by all this, Hellboy is ultimately very loyal to humanity, having been raised on Earth by an adoptive human father, and so he chooses to halt the apocalypse rather than helping usher it in. It's a powerful theme that runs through the whole Hellboy mythos about nurture winning out over nature. Still, the temptation isn't going away. He can stick Excalibur into a stone or into the Earth itself, but it will always be there waiting for him if he ever gets fed up with Earth and wants to bring about what's next.

Will Hellboy destroy the world as we know it one day? Probably not as the plot of a movie, because that would be a pretty big downer, but the fact that Hellboy himself lives with this question every day of his life is a defining aspect of his character.

What happened to the Nazis in the flashback?

The scene in which a baby Hellboy is summoned from Hell by Rasputin and a bunch of Nazis during World War II appears in both the 2004 and 2019 versions of the movie, but in 2004 it takes place in a prologue that introduces the main villains of the film, whereas in 2019 it's a flashback that happens later in the film and features a bunch of character who don't appear elsewhere. Among them are four Nazis who are recognizable from the comics: Klaus Werner von Krupt, Ilsa Haupstein, Karl Kroenen, and Leopold Kurtz. In the comics, all of these villains appear in other stories, and Kroenen and Haupstein even return for the modern day storyline in the 2004 movie.

In the 2019 movie, on the other hand, the Nazis are captured and led away by the allied forces. Did they eventually escape to do more evil deeds? Did the dark forces render any of them immortal, allowing their evil to survive into the 21st century (and possibly future movies)? There's no way to know, but it's a possibility worth considering.

Can Ben Daimio control the beast within him without drugs?

When we meet Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim), he's a highly disciplined military vet turned secret agent who hides the fact that he's a were-jaguar, and suppresses his transformations by injecting himself with an unknown drug when he feels the big cat threatening to take over. At the end of the movie, he decides to let himself transform in order to help his new friends fight bigger and scarier monsters. In the final scene when he's joined the BPRD, it looks like that's become his usual practice. It's hard not to wonder, however, if it's actually a good idea.

Embracing his jaguar side makes Ben more powerful, but it also makes him much more dangerous. In the comics, Ben ultimately loses control and kills a bunch of people. After that he goes into hiding, and eventually sacrifices his life to put an end to the monstrous jaguar that lives inside him. Does that fate await the film version of the character as well? It would be nice to hope not, but it's certainly a possibility worth considering.

Will Rasputin return?

Rasputin was the main villain of the 2004 Hellboy movie, but he only makes a cameo appearance in the 2019 version. However, he's famously hard to kill and has made deals with dark forces, so there's no reason to think he won't show up again. After all, he's one of the first major villains of the Hellboy comics as well, so if there are future movies in this continuity, it's hard to imagine he won't show up sooner or later. Also, Rasputin is an agent of the forces of Hell, which of course (as his name implies) is where Hellboy was born. Like Nimue, he has an interest in persuading Hellboy to fulfill his destiny by ending the world, but for him it's less about sharing that goal and wanting to rule the next world alongside him the way Nimue does. It's that Rasputin's powers come from evil otherworldly forces, and he does their bidding quite effectively.

Who are the active BPRD agents in the US?

The new Hellboy movie does a lot to distinguish itself from the 2004 version and its 2008 sequel. One change you can't miss is that almost no time is spent at the primary headquarters of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense in the United States. Hellboy mopes in his quarters for a bit after returning from Mexico, but he heads off pretty quickly to England to meet up with the Osiris Club. He also finds new allies there, Alice Monaghan and Ben Daimio, who become the newest BPRD members by the end of the movie.

The question that remains is who's already working out of the U.S. headquarters that we barely saw. We know Abe Sapien isn't there yet, because they don't find him in his tank until the end of the movie, but what about Liz Sherman, the pyrokinetic woman played by Selma Blair in the first two movies? She was raised by the BPRD, so there's a good chance she's around somewhere. There's also Tom Manning, the bureaucrat originally played by Jeffrey Tambor, and even Johann Kraus, the disembodied spirit in a containment suit that Seth MacFarlane voiced in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. For that matter, there are other prominent BPRD members from the comics who've never appeared onscreen, like Kate Corrigan and Roger the Homunculus. How many of these characters are already working for the BPRD, and already know Hellboy, and just didn't make the trip to England?

Did Hellboy ever take out the coven of vampires in Mexico?

At the beginning of the new movie, Hellboy travels to Tijuana in search of Esteban Ruiz, a BPRD agent who disappeared while hunting a coven of vampires. When he finds Ruiz wrestling at a lucha libre show, it soon becomes clear that Ruiz has been transformed into a vampire himself. In fact he becomes a huge, grotesque bat monster to fight Hellboy. Hellboy kills his former friend, and then goes on a drunken bender until the BPRD sends agents to retrieve him. What's never cleared up, however, is what happened to the coven of vampires. Did Esteban Ruiz kill them and then find himself cursed? Given that he was turned, it seems unlikely that his mission succeeded. So did Hellboy go and destroy the other vampires before he went on his bender, or did he just forget about that part of the mission? Given how powerful Ruiz was in his vampire form, let's hope the rest of his kind aren't still in Tijuana, slowly expanding their numbers as they bite more and more people.

Who will be the new head of the BPRD?

Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane), Hellboy's adoptive father and the founding director of the BPRD, dies at the hands of Nimue late in the film. Obviously Hellboy is emotionally devastated, as we know from seeing him getting drunk at his father's grave in the scene when Lobster Johnson appears. But regardless of anyone's feelings, what about the leadership of the BPRD? They're going to need a new director, and we have no idea who that will be. Hellboy is probably not suited for it. In the comics, Bruttenholm is succeeded by Tom Manning, who doesn't appear in this film but was previously played by Jeffrey Tambor. Ben Daimio also rises high in the BPRD of the comics, and we see his leadership experience in the movie, so he's a possibility. Whoever takes the job, it seems likely they'll have more and bigger conflicts with Hellboy than Bruttenholm did, because they lack the patience of a father.