ByDavid Opie, writer at
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David Opie

After years of trying to make Hellboy 3 happen, news that the series would be rebooted as a R-rated franchise starring David Harbour probably didn't go down too well with director Guillermo Del Toro — or so we thought. In reality, the acclaimed filmmaker kept himself busy by working on a stunning new film called The Shape Of Water, which may be more closely linked to Hellboy than we were first led to believe...

There's Something Fishy Going On Here

Anyone who watches the first trailer for The Shape Of Water would have to be thicker than Hellboy's Right Hand of Doom to miss the striking visual similarities between the film's aquatic star and Abraham "Abe" Sapien. This character fought alongside Hellboy as a member of the B.P.R.D. in Del Toro's first two adaptations, and for a while, there was even talk of producing a spin-off starring the egg-loving agent. Unfortunately, the upcoming Hellboy reboot helmed by director Neil Marshall seemed to wash those plans out to sea, once and for all — again, so we thought.

In between the beautiful shots of Sally Hawkins striking up romance with a slimy fish-man, the trailer for The Shape Of Water dropped enough Hellboy references for even the most amateur member of the B.P.R.D. to spot. Just like the suspiciously unnamed creature in Del Toro's new movie, Abe also holds a fondness for eating eggs, reading books and listening to classical music.

The Shape Of Water [Fox Searchlight Pictures]
The Shape Of Water [Fox Searchlight Pictures]

Both creatures also endured cruel experimentation at the hands of scientists in a post WWII setting, and the connection the new figure holds with a mute Hawkins certainly hints at psychic potential.

"He understands me..."

Previously worshipped as a god by natives in the Amazon, the unnamed star from The Shape Of Water also happens to be played by Doug Jones, the very same actor who brought Abe to life in Hellboy 1 & 2. Plus, does it seem suspicious to anyone else that Del Toro has refused to officially name the amphibious lead?

The Shape Of Things To Come?

Although the idea that Del Toro's new movie is secretly a Hellboy prequel does hold appeal for fans, there are a few obstacles that would need to be navigated first for this to be true.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army [Credit: Universal Pictures]
Hellboy II: The Golden Army [Credit: Universal Pictures]

Legally speaking, it wouldn't make sense for Del Toro to officially link The Shape Of Water with the world of Hellboy. After all, the director's latest venture hasn't been financed by Legendary Pictures, the production company behind Hellboy, and the upcoming reboot only complicates the issue further. If is in fact a prequel to Hellboy in some fashion after all, then which Hellboy are we talking about? Has Del Toro somehow set up a prequel to the R-rated reboot, or has the acclaimed filmmaker found a way to delve back into his own version of Hellboy before the reboot wipes the slate clean?

The most likely explanation for this is that The Shape Of Water isn't an official prequel at all. Instead, Del Toro has grafted elements of Abe's story into a new tale that simply bears a number of intriguing parallels with his former work. But if The Shape Of Water isn't linked to after all, then copyright claims could come into play.

Many assumed that the recent sci-fi movie Life was in fact a prequel to Venom, but that theory was disproven — we think — once the film was released, so the speculation surrounding Del Toro's project may follow a similar path. Either way though, find out whether The Shape Of Water will sink or swim when the secret/unofficial prequel to Hellboy floats into cinemas on December 8, 2017.

Do you think that The Shape Of Water is secretly a prequel to Hellboy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!


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