You don’t need me to tell you that there’s no shortage of superhero content out there in the pop culture universe right now. I mean, we’ve had Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home in theaters this summer alone, not to mention all of the Arrowverse shows on TV – and that’s just scratching the surface. It’s a saturated market, but one that Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys is ready to cut right through with laser vision (and a whole lot of other powers).
HNS had the chance to chat with the cast of this new series from Showrunner/Executive Producer Eric Kripke (Supernatural, Timeless) at SDCC, and we’re sharing the most interesting things we learned with you. Here are some fun takeaways from the press conference with Kripke, Karl Urban (Billy Butcher), Antony Starr (Homelander), Jack Quaid (Hughie Campbell), Chace Crawford (The Deep), Erin Moriarty (Starlight), Laz Alonso (Mother’s Milk), Tomer Capon (Frenchie), Jessie T. Usher (A-Train), and Karen Fukuhara (The Female).
1. These superheroes aren’t exactly the good guys.
You know the saying Don’t meet your heroes? Probably a good motto in the world of The Boys. These superheroes may have the good looks, powers, and fabulous outfits down, but their good deeds don’t make up for who they really are behind closed doors (and cover-ups). In the world of this show, “superheroes are real. If they were real, they’d be dicks. And here’s the team that fights them,” Kripke explained. “Overall, what we’re really trying to do is [show] the most brutally realistic version of superheroes that live in the world. With superheroes as insecure and fucked up and self-serving and selfish as real humans would be if they had superpowers. They’d all be super Bill Cosby.”
The show can truly be brutal – the first episode alone features a hero with super speed running straight through a woman, splattering her like a balloon – but Kripke says the violence is intentional and not meant to be gratuitous. “People sometimes behave in really awful ways that we want to be unflinching about, but in the same respect it’s not meant to be shocking – it’s meant to tell a real story about real characters.”
2. Get ready for some unconventional fight scenes.
The super speed scene I just mentioned isn’t exactly a fight, but it’s also an unconventional use of familiar powers – and it’s far from the only one. Karl Urban teased another unique fight scene featured in the pilot. “We fight an invisible superhero, which was a whole new, interesting thing for me,” he said. “I’ve done various different fights in my career and that was a trip – standing in the middle of the room, swinging at nothing and taking hits from nothing. It was pretty funky.”
3. The character of Hughie was initially based on Simon Pegg – who plays Hughie’s father in the series.
In the comics that inspired the series (written by Garth Ennis and co-created, designed, and illustrated by Darick Robertson), Hughie – played by Jack Quaid in the TV series – was indeed based on Simon Pegg. Though Quaid didn’t initially realize this when he read the script, he read the comics after he got the role and realized Hughie looked pretty familiar. “It’s not necessarily like he’s played the role, but I did feel like I was stepping into some pretty big shoes,” Quaid said. “But the fact that I got to work with [Simon] as my dad was a dream come true. He’s the greatest.”
4. Karen Fukuhara is trading her katana for a new kind of superhero role.
Fukuhara – who played Katana in Suicide Squad – brings an entirely new kind of superhero to life in The Boys as The Female. “I had a conversation with Eric at the beginning of filming and he wanted something more animalistic and something that’s not refined, whereas Katana was more martial arts and very deliberate action,” Karen explained. “I love playing The Female. You just never know what’s going to come because she fights in a way that’s out of the ordinary.”
5. Streaming and superhero movies influenced how the series came to life.
When asked why Amazon Prime Video was the perfect home for The Boys, Kripke joked that it was because they were the ones who bought the show. But beyond that obviously important factor, the creative freedom and budget that came with the streaming service were critical in bringing this series to life.
“The streaming format really allows you to open up the world, explore the characters, and get as outrageous as the show wants and needs to be,” Kripke said. “[Amazon] has the budget to do it right. It has to have the quality of the superhero stuff that’s happening in the movies. This cannot feel like a parody […] and Amazon has the resources to give us that.”
6. Despite the name, The Boys also features some badass female characters and messaging.
Erin Moriarty (Starlight) spoke beautifully about this subject and her initial assumptions when she received the script. “The first assumption I made was that it was going to be a superhero drama that adhered to that stereotypical superhero formula. The second assumption that I made when I read the name Starlight was that she was just going to fit into that box we’re all really familiar with – and she doesn’t, and that’s what I loved about it,” she said.
So what exactly does it look like to have Starlight not fit in that typical box? “I think it’s a really cool opportunity. Here you have when you first meet her this very earnest young woman from Midwest America, who although being earnest, she’s not naive,” Moriarty continued. “She doesn’t know the world she’s getting herself into because you don’t unless you go behind those closed doors, and then she’s smacked in the face with reality and it turns into a really morally ambiguous situation.”
7. Ready to meet your heroes? Here’s a roll call.
Okay, we don’t really want to meet the heroes from this show but we can’t wait to see them in action. Here’s a breakdown of the main cast of heroes the title Boys will face off against.
Chace Crawford: The Deep. “He’s an aquatic superhero who talks to porpoises and crustaceans. They’re his only friends. He’s deeply insecure about it.”
Erin Moriarty: Starlight. “My power is that I shoot lightning out of my hands. I’d drop the mic, but there’s no mic to drop.”
Antony Starr: Homelander. “I fly, I shoot lasers out of my eyeballs, I have x-ray vision, super strength, super hearing… I fly, I have laser beams, super strength, super hearing…”
Jessie T. Usher: A-Train. “He’s a super athlete, a super speedster. Sort of like The Flash if The Flash had a drug addiction.”
Karen Fukuhara: The Female. “She’s really strong [and] has anger problems.”
The Boys is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.