‘Hellbound’: Director Explains Why the Emissaries of Hell Travel in a Trio

Hellbound brings a new type of horror to everyday reality. The Netflix Korean drama entails a new supernatural phenomenon where people receive prophecies of their death. The K-drama’s trailer revealed the absolute horror that comes from the emissaries of hell who appear on Earth to burn the condemned to death. Director Yeon Sang-ho elaborated on why the emissaries travel as a trio in Hellbound.

'Hellbound' by director Yeon Sang-ho at Netflix press event in blue button-up shirt.
‘Hellbound’ by director Yeon Sang-ho | via Netflix

Who or what are the emissaries of hell in ‘Hellbound’?

Hellbound’s first teaser trailer introduced the gigantic emissaries from hell that will stop at nothing to act out their duty. The emissaries appear on Earth when it is time for the condemned dreaded fate. But in a shocking twist, the emissaries are visible to the public. They have a chared coal or stone texture to their skin, and their bodies emit fumes and smoke.

The workers of hell have immense strength and abilities to crush cars and destroy anything in their wake. The K-drama’s trailer shows the emissaries using a bright light emanating from their hands that burn their victim to a crisp. The K-drama’s official posters help audiences realize how giant the monsters are.

Director Yeon Sang-ho explains why the emissaries travel in groups of three

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Hellbound and Train to Busan director Yeon Sang-ho developed details about the K-drama’s main characters and emissaries in the original webtoon. A key component about the emissaries is that they always travel as a trio. Viewers might think it is a tactic strategy, but Yeon reveals why he included the small detail about the emissaries.

At Hellbound’s press event, Yeon explains his thought process behind the supernatural entities in the drama. According to Soompi, Yeon said, “While looking at the image of hell’s grim reaper, people will think about what hell is and start to imagine. I made it while thinking about what kind of character would capture how we imagined hell.”

But Hellbound’s director had a specific word in mind to describe the monster trio. “The reason they stick together is because I think lynching is a horror keyword. For lynching that’s done to few people, I thought about how many people would be necessary for it to feel like a group, and I thought three was enough,” said Yeon.

Where did director Yeon Sang-ho get the inspiration behind ‘Hellbound’?

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The crux of the six-episode K-drama is the way Yeon has depicted angels, demons, and emissaries. Yeon explains the faces of the angels were something he imagined from the start. But the director credits his ideas to ancient tales about celestial beings.

“They say it appeared suddenly in ancient times, but it could appear once every 100 or 200 years. I figured that our imaginations of the angel and devil were built off the imaginations of people in these ancient times. I was curious about the original archetype they saw,” said Yeon.

In Hellbound’s official trailer, audiences get to see how the prophecies are given to the condemned. A large phantom-like white face appears before them. The being is supposedly an angel. “Among the images used to portray angels, there were images of large faces. I wondered what they saw to create images like that. I thought I wanted to find something close to that archetype and create the images in the drama,” said Yeon.