'Hellboy' Post-Credit Scenes: Lobster Johnson and Koschei the Deathless
It may be receiving a beating from film critics on Rotten Tomatoes, with a paltry 12% score as of this writing, but the reboot Hellboy starring David Harbour is really hoping for a sequel. We know this because the film comes with not one, but two scenes in the credits that tease out ideas for what could happen in Hellboy 2. If there is one.
Spoilers for Hellboy ahead.
Out in theaters on April 12, Hellboy is an R-rated reboot of the Mike Mignola comic book character that has nothing to do with the two previous movies from Guillermo del Toro. Directed by Neill Marshall, of the 2005 horror film The Descent and two major episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones (“The Watchers on the Wall” was his), the movie stars Harbour as the unholy son of a demon who grows up on Earth adopted by Trevor Bruttenholm, founder of the top secret government agency, the B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense).
The film follows Hellboy assembling a crack team of specialists, including a young paranormal psychic named Alice (Sasha Lane) and a rugged soldier of the B.P.R.D. Ben Daimio (Daniel Dae Kim) who can transform into a beastly jaguar. Together, they must vanquish an ancient witch, Nimue (Milla Jovovich), who is resurrected after thousands of years to resume her destruction of Earth.
Shortly after teasing Abe Sapien in the final moments of the film, Hellboy plays two different scenes that occur in the credits.
Mid-Credits: Villains Beware, For Lobster Johnson!
In the mid-credits scene, Hellboy (Harbour) meets his idol, Lobster Johnson, at the grave of his father. First introduced in the film’s flashback of Hellboy’s origins to World War II, Lobster Johnson returns as a ghostly specter to continue his crusade for justice. And he needs Hellboy’s rock-hard physical form to save the day from a new, unidentified menace.
Lobster Johnson is played in the film by actor Thomas Hayden Church, whose last superhero role was as the villain Sandman in 2007’s Spider-Man 3.
Silly as Lobster Johnson may be (and he is), he really does come from the Mike Mignola comics. With a square jaw, a thick frame, and a dead serious expression when it comes to branding evildoers with his “claw” (a heated glove with the mark of a lobster claw), Lobster Johnson is Mignola’s loving homage to pulp characters like Captain America and The Spider.
“I thought it was cool to have one superhero guy,” said Mignola of Lobster Johnson in a 2018 interview with Geek and Sundry, “kind of a throwback to my Marvel Comics stuff, little World War II Captain America hanging out with GI’s. I always wanted to have that.”
In the Hellboy universe, Lobster Johnson existed in the ‘30s as a pop culture figure who starred in film serials, radio shows, and comic books. But unbeknownst to the public, Lobster Johnson really fought mobsters and Nazis until he was killed in 1938. Unlike his portrayal in the Hellboy film, where he’s characterized as a heroic, slightly jingoistic boy scout, he’s a bit more tragic in his penchant towards violence.
A popular character when he appeared in Mignola’s Hellboy series, Lobster Johnson has starred in several comics of his own, which have been helpfully collected in easy-to-follow trade paperbacks collections.
Post-Credits: Koshchei, Cometh
In the actual post-credits scene of Hellboy, Baba Yaga, the gross, ancient-as-all-hell Russian demon who feels jilted after Hellboy went back on their deal, hires an off-screen individual to kill Hellboy.
While it’s hard to tell who exactly Baba Yaga is speaking to— because, again, they’re seen off-screen — we know based on the comics that it’s Koschei the Deathless, an immortal mercenary whose soul was taken from him. Baba Yaga, who claims to have hidden a goat containing Koschei’s soul, uses this to her advantage to make sure Koschei does her bidding.
And in Hellboy: Darkness Calls, a 2007 story arc that served as partial inspiration for the new film, Baba Yaga contracts Koschei to kill Hellboy when he’s traversing through the Thrice-Nine Lands.
Koschei isn’t too prolific of a villain in the Hellboy universe. He pretty much only showed up for Darkness Calls, which ended with Koschei and Hellboy sharing a beer and Koschei being free to find his soul. But in 2018, Mike Mignola revisited Koschei’s story in his own six-issue miniseries Koschei the Deathless, which detailed Koschei’s origins.
Hellboy is in theaters on April 12.