Master filmmaker Guillermo del Toro walked away from the world of Mike Mignola’s Hellboy after his 2008 movie sequel, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, underperformed at the box office. But that hasn’t stopped fans from thinking del Toro’s next movie, The Shape of Water, is a Hellboy prequel in disguise. It’s not, but fans just want del Toro to make a third Hellboy movie so badly, they’re trying hard to convince themselves they’re getting something.
On Wednesday, Fox Searchlight released the trailer for The Shape of Water, a gothic drama set during the Cold War in which a mute woman (Sally Hawkins) forms a bond with an amphibious humanoid (Doug Jones) who is being held captive as a science experiment. Because of the strong visual similarities between The Shape of Water and Hellboy — not to mention that both films feature a blue-ish fish man played by Jones — fans think The Shape of Water is about a younger version of Abe Sapien from the Hellboy movies.
In del Toro’s Hellboy and Hellboy II, Abe Sapien — an agent for the top secret BPRD (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense) — is a genius telepath who enjoys books, classical music, and snacking on eggs. Those character traits are uncannily shared by the new creature in The Shape of Water, and it would make sense that a mute could form a bond with a primitive creature if that creature actually has telepathic abilities.
Legally speaking, there is no way del Toro would be allowed to make a prequel to Hellboy, not the least of which is because a reboot is already in development by director Neil Marshall, whose credits include some of the biggest episodes of Game of Thrones. Still, fans in the comments section of YouTube — a section of the internet that should generally be avoided — are pointing out how much The Shape of Water looks like Hellboy.
Of course, not all fans are that convinced. Some are just pointing out similarities, while others are just excited to see del Toro’s newest project. Meanwhile, the sci-fi horror film Life never turned out to be a prequel to Venom, so maybe fans ought to calm down just a little.
The Shape of Water will be released on December 8.