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Why David Hyde Pierce Didn't Return In Hellboy 2

There are some interesting changes that take place between "Hellboy" and "Hellboy 2: The Golden Army," and not all of them occur because of what's onscreen. While Abe Sapien, Hellboy's (Ron Perlman) erstwhile friend, is physically portrayed by longtime creature actor Doug Jones of "The Shape of Water," he's voiced by two different actors across Guillermo del Toro's duology. In "Hellboy," David Hyde Pierce of "Frasier" fame voices the character. "Hellboy 2" features Jones physically acting the part as well as voicing his lines. And Pierce has finally spoken out about why the change occurred. 

Speaking with ComicBook.com in June 2024, Pierce admitted that he has no idea why he wasn't called back, but thinks he understands del Toro's reasoning. "I don't remember why I didn't do Hellboy 2," he said. "I only did the first one because Guillermo [del Toro] said he heard my voice for the character." Pierce then admitted that he wasn't entirely sure if del Toro knew that Jones could also do a voice for the character on top of physically acting out the part. "I think it was just that I felt like, 'Well, he should do it. He's playing the role again, he should do it, because he's doing all the hard work. He's doing all the heavy lifting in the tank with the mask and the (breathing apparatus)," he revealed.

It's worth noting that David Hyde Pierce isn't billed for voicing Abe. There's a reason for that as well, and it involves his deference to Jones' talent. 

David Hyde Pierce took no credit in deference to Doug Jones' work

David Hyde Pierce previously admitted that the reason why he took no credit for voicing Abe Sapien in "Hellboy" was because he wanted the focus to be on Doug Jones' work. Jones reported to CBR in 2008 that Pierce heard his performance as Sapien and all but wondered aloud why he had been hired. "He did his job, as he was hired to do, and did it beautifully, and then what happened was, when it came time to promote the film, the mileage that they were hoping to get out of the David Hyde Pierce thing backfired a little bit, because he did not take a credit in the film. He refused to take a credit in the film," Jones said. Why? "He said, 'Out of respect to Doug Jones.' He did not want to take any of the limelight away from me, so that makes David Hyde Pierce unlike anyone else I've ever met in all of Hollywood."

This was not a boon to Universal Studios, whom, Jones was told, asked Guillermo del Toro to replace Jones in the booth with a name that would draw audiences to the film based on pop culture recognition alone. But it ended up working out for both Pierce, who has continued to have a stable and successful career, and Jones, who still acts steadily. Together, they created a superhero sidekick who definitely deserves his own spin-off movie. Even Universal went home happy with an over $59 million worldwide take from the film. It seems that sometimes, being a good guy can be rewarding.