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The Boys, Amazon’s zeitgeisty superhero series, has been hailed for being so in touch with current events that it borders on predicting the future. Season two wrapped in October and included violence at a congressional hearing, and just two months later on Jan. 6, real-life insurrectionists stormed the U.S. Capitol. Series creator Eric Kripke takes no pleasure in reality reflecting the show.
“The show is a dystopia … The idea that so much of it is coming true is not good,” Kripke says during THR Presents Q&A powered by Vision Media. “We are happy we have an outlet to talk about some things that really need to be talked about, and we are grateful for that, but I would way prefer we live in a really boring world where the show isn’t hitting the zeitgeist it’s hitting right now.”
The Boys takes place in a world where superheroes are run by a powerful, corrupt corporation called Vaught.
The first season hadn’t yet come out and become a phenomenon when Aya Cash was cast as Stormfront, the villain who is later revealed to be a literal Nazi and widow of Vaught founder Frederick Vaught. When Cash auditioned, her character was taking shape in her first few episodes, in which Stormfront joins the superteam The Seven and appears to just be a charismatic new hero. Only when she was cast did Cash learn the real depth of the character — including the consequences of her actions in the finale.
“I remember sitting on my couch being like, ‘What? No! That’s amazing,'” Cash recalls. “It was so fun to hear what was going to happen and how she was going to get her comeuppance as well, which changed a few times throughout the season. There were different ways she was going to be punished.”
For Annie/Starlight actor Erin Moriarty, that scene in which she participated in a beat-down of Stormfront was complicated due to her real-life friendship with Cash.
“You have Aya Cash, who in real life we’ve all come to love and is the loveliest human being in real life,” says Moriarty, “and then she is playing this person who is symbolic of and the epitome of the worst facets of our country. I’ve never felt totally opposing feelings at the same time toward the same situation.”
In the writer’s room, that scene was a challenge to break as well.
“There were so many characters who needed a piece of her that it was difficult to structure,” Kripke reflects on the episode, penned by Rebecca Sonnenshine. “Annie needed her piece of her, Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) definitely did. Maeve (Dominique McElligott) needed it. Butcher (Karl Urban) needed to be in on that. There was so many people that needed to line up to beat up Stormfront that we had a hard time. It’s this puzzle.”
Actors who work on the show note that Kripke is receptive to input. For instance, Urban suggested how Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) would meet his end, coming up with the idea during a visit to Comic-Con. Ultimately, the character is undone by an Almond Joy candy bar.
“Nathan Mitchell, who plays Noir, has an incredibly severe tree nut allergy,” explains Kripke. “In every one of these green rooms, there is nothing but nuts. Karl said to me, ‘We should give Noir a nut allergy.’ That’s the best idea ever.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean actors always get their way. Moriarty, whose character Annie has a romantic relationship with Jack Quaid’s Hughie Campbell, notes her on-screen love interest has pitched the same idea every season.
“Season one, Hughie and I have this scene where I say to him, ‘You’re not intimidated by me and how I can literally bench press you?’ And he’s like, ‘No,”’ recalls Moriarty. “I feel like every season Jack is like, ‘Maybe this is the season where we see you bench press me. Maybe this is it.'”
The team is filming season three in Toronto, while a spinoff focusing on a Vaught-run college for young adults hoping to become superheroes is in the offing. Asked if characters from The Boys could pop up on that show, Kripke suggests there will be opportunities for crossover.
“Without giving anything away, we are finding a lot of great opportunities for reasonable crossover, because what you forget is The Seven in our world are the biggest stars on the planet,” says Kripke. “It’s interesting to jump to the perspective of people who look up to those people rather than being with them … (We see) the perspective of the aspirational people in that world who want to be the next heroes, which is what the show is really about. It’s been super interesting to see. So we’re finding a lot of good opportunities to be referencing the Mothership.”
This THR Presents is brought to you by Amazon Studios.
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