Shape Of Water Isn’t a Hellboy Prequel: See for Yourself on Netflix

Columbia Pictures

If you haven’t figured it out by now, the Oscar-winning drama The Shape of Water, directed by Guillermo del Toro, is not a prequel to del Toro’s gothic comic book movies Hellboy. But if you’re not convinced, you can see it for yourself when Hellboy II: The Golden Army hits Netflix in May.

Netflix released its streaming calendar for May 2018 this week, and among the choice new movies and shows is 2008’s Hellboy II, which begins streaming May 1. Based on the Dark Horse comic book series from writer/illustrator Mike Mignola, the film stars Ron Pearlman as Hellboy, the son of the devil who fights other supernatural monsters as a government agent.

One of Hellboy’s peers, Abe Sapien, is a bipedal fish-man who loves art, music, deviled eggs, and serves as the bookish know-it-all on Hellboy’s team. He’s also played by Doug Jones, a prolific character actor known in Hollywood for his lean frame and lively expressions. For 2017’s The Shape of Water, del Toro looked to Jones to play “The Asset,” the imprisoned fish-man whom Sally Hawkins falls in love in the movie that won this year’s Oscar for Best Picture.

But despite the fact that it’s Doug Jones playing blue-hued fish men, the films have nothing in common — not even a shared universe. “Those comparisons are inevitable, but they are not correct,” Jones told Inverse in an interview back in November. “I was told from the very beginning this is not Abe Sapien from Hellboy. This is a completely different character. It’s not a prequel, it’s not a backstory, it’s not an origin story. It’s new.”

Jones acknowledges the physical similarities, but advises viewers to look closer — quite literally. “If you look at the two designs side by side, you’ll see the differences, in markings, colors, shapes, placement of gills. It’s different.”

This is a still from the 2017 drama 'The Shape of Water.' It is not, as you might think, an image from either 2004's 'Hellboy' or 2008's 'Hellboy II: The Golden Army.'

Fox Searchlight Pictures

A third and final Hellboy from del Toro failed to take off after talks went south in 2015, leading to a forthcoming reboot from Lionsgate with a new director — Neil Marshall of Game of Thrones — and a new Hellboy, played by David Harbour from Stranger Things.

If Hellboy isn’t your jam, there are other notable offerings coming to Netflix in May. The new seasons of Arrow and The Flash will be available, as are gems like Amelie, the Hannibal sequel Red Dragon, as well as true classics, like Harold & Kumar: Escape from Guantanamo Bay and Shrek.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army begins streaming on Netflix May 1. The new Hellboy reboot will be released on January 11, 2019.

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