Good versus evil isn’t so cut-and-dry in the Emmy-nominated adaptation of Garth Ennis’ subversive comic book series The Boys. “What if superheroes existed in the real world with all their privilege, influence, and power?” asks showrunner Eric Kripke. “Fact is, they’d be huge assholes.” And they’d have corporate overlords, such as the show’s central band of costumed crusaders, the Seven, backed by the mega-conglomerate Vought International.
The team’s vicious frontman Homelander (Antony Starr) is an amoral, fame-hungry hero with homicidal tendencies. His many misdeeds have fueled the rage of Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), the leader of a CIA black-ops group known as the Boys. He’s a brute who blamed Vought for the sudden disappearance of his wife Becca (Shantel VanSanten), only to find out a far-worse truth: She had gone into hiding after Homelander raped her and left her pregnant. Now, Butcher is ready to live up to his name and cut his rival down, anyway he can.
Starlight (Erin Moriarty)
Dosed with Compound V as a child, sweet Midwestern native Annie January was recruited by Vought for her ability to manipulate energy. A romance with Hughie has opened her eyes to the Seven’s corruption, leading to her becoming a double agent for the Boys.
Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott)
The Seven’s No. 2 has superhuman strength and an inner fortitude that helped her face being outed as a lesbian. She is probably the most upstanding of the team after Starlight, but she also isn’t above blackmailing Homelander with proof of his crimes.
A-Train (Jessie T. Usher)
The flashy fastest man alive abuses Compound V to keep his speedy powers, which were diminished by a drug-induced heart attack. He was recently brought back to the Seven after Homelander booted him for becoming a weak link on the team.
Hughie (Jack Quaid)
The nerdy nice guy joined the Boys to avenge his late girlfriend, who was killed when a tweaked-out A-Train literally ran through her. Now, he’s dating Starlight and seems to be ready to leave the Boys, and their dangerous plans, behind.
Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso)
If Butcher is the brawn, this guy is the brains of the Boys. A former field medic and skilled strategist, Milk is also a devoted family man who was able to reunite with his estranged wife and daughter after baddie Stormfront (Aya Cash) was shut down.
The Female (Karen Fukuhara)
A survivor of Vought’s plot to create supervillains, the mute Japanese hitwoman, Kimiko Miyashiro, joins the Boys’ cause and forges a friendship with teammate/gunrunner Frenchie (Tomer Capon). Her kills are iconic.
Where We Left Off
Everyone finally realized that the Seven’s newest member — and Homelander’s latest love — Stormfront (Cash) was a white supremacist using Vought to reboot a new Nazi empire. Oh, and she’s decades older than she looks, and the widow of Vought’s founder, Frederick. So Queen Maeve and Starlight joined the Boys for a battle royal that left Becca dead and Stormfront mutilated by Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), Homelander and Becca’s powered son, who is later handed over for government protection. Meanwhile, fish-lover the Deep (Chace Crawford) grew disenchanted with the cultish Church of the Collective, and Hughie began working for anti-Vought congresswoman Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit)…who we learn was behind the congressional hearing’s terrorist attack when she later explodes the head of Collective leader Alastair Adana (Goran Visnjic).
What’s coming next?
Season 3 is set to be “a meditation on toxic masculinity,” offers showrunner Eric Kripke, who has drafted his former Supernatural star Jensen Ackles to play Soldier Boy, the leader of an old-school hero team known as Payback (think: a less-evolved Captain America). The Walking Dead vet Laurie Holden guest stars as a fellow member, Crimson Countess, while Nick Wechsler (Revenge), Sean Patrick Flannery (The Boondock Saints), and Miles Gaston Villanueva (Nancy Drew) debut as newly created heroes Blue Hawk, Gunpowder, and Supersonic, respectively. “This season is about what is happening in our world, as usual,” adds Kripke. “We found a way to delve even deeper into the characters, and we really pushed them all to their limits.”
The Boys, Season 3, TBA, Amazon Prime Video