“Hellboy” has finally hit theaters, and one thing that’s clear before the box office receipts are even counted: This movie is hoping for a sequel.
A departure from some of the more upbeat costumed superheroes audiences expect from certain kinds of comic book films, Harbour’s Hellboy is a gruff and angsty paranormal investigator who is a bit unsure of his place in the world.
Directed by “Game of Thrones” veteran Neil Marshall, “Hellboy” reboots the previous franchise helmed by Guillermo del Toro into a bloodier, grittier incarnation that takes full advantage of its R rating.
But like the films of other comics-based franchises, “Hellboy” plants seeds for its hero’s future adventures with a pair of scenes during and after the end credits.
[Warning: Spoilers for “Hellboy” below.]
“Hellboy” fans will recognize that the being in the tank is none other than Abe Sapien — even before seeing a mysterious hand reach out against the glass.
In the comics, Abe Sapien is a Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (B.P.R.D.) research specimen turned agent thanks to Hellboy. The two became close friends after Hellboy saved Abe from further experimentation. Though he had no memory of his past, Abe was a human scientist who was turned into an amphibious, fish-like man in a ritual gone awry.
His appearance at the end of the film sets up the possibility for Abe to join Hellboy’s team in any follow-up movie.
In Guillermo del Toro’s “Hellboy” films, Abe was played by Doug Jones (and voiced in the first film by David Hyde Pierce).
“Hellboy’s” mid-credits scene takes viewers to a cemetery where Hellboy is mourning the death of his adoptive father Trevor Bruttenholm (Ian McShane). A drunk and distraught Hellboy is visited at the Professor’s gravesite by none other than the ghost of Lobster Johnson (Thomas Haden Church).
The Lobster is introduced earlier in the movie taking out Nazis during a flashback scene involving Hellboy’s origin and how he was found and raised by Bruttenholm.
The ghost of Lobster is there to basically warn Hellboy that “evil is coming” — he may have won this battle, but the war is far from over.
But as the biggest Lobster fan, the excited Hellboy just wants to see the trademark lobster claw weapon on his glove.
In the comics, even a ghost Lobster was able to shoot his guns and use the claw, so it’s possible that he could re-appear in a future “Hellboy” installment.
While the mid-credits scene only hints at future troubles, the “Hellboy” post-credits scene teases a specific future foe.
This time the setting is back in Baba Yaga’s domain where she is making a deal with an off screen character to take out Hellboy.
The witch and her chicken leg house appeared earlier in the film with Hellboy escaping her clutches mostly unscathed (other than a pretty gross kiss). She had made it clear that she’s seeking Hellboy’s eye, and in the post-credits scene she definitely has not given up.
The mission she gives her off screen accomplice: kill Hellboy and deliver his eye — in exchange, she says, she will finally let the mystery player die.
Although the character is never shown, the conversation implies that the character Baba Yaga is deploying is most likely Koschei the Deathless.
In the comics, Koschei is an immortal mercenary sent to kill Hellboy by Baba Yaga in the “Darkness Falls” miniseries (which is reportedly one of the comic book runs that inspired this film). Koschei — who has already been killed and revived before — cannot die because his soul is separated from his body, hidden inside a goat.
Baba Yaga has claimed to have hidden this goat, which is how she gets Koschei to do her bidding.
The post-credits scene suggests Baba Yaga and Koschei could be key players if there is indeed a “Hellboy” sequel down the line.