Jessie Usher as A-Train in The Boys
(Amazon Prime)

How Far Will Prime Video’s ‘The Boys’ Stray From the Comic Book Ending?

If you thought the TV show was ultra-violent, buckle up!

Yesterday, Prime Video confirmed that its hit R-rated superhero satire The Boys will end with its fifth and final season. So as the stakes get even higher for the crew on TV, the question remains: How will it end? Well, if the comics are anything to go by, with quite a (bloody, gruesome) bang.

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It’s been a long road for Butcher (Karl Urban), Hughie (Jack Quaid), Annie/Starlight (Erin Moriarty), Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara), and Frenchie (Tomer Capone), the squad of rogue vigilantes otherwise known as “The Boys,” and showrunner Eric Kripke took to social media on Tuesday, June 11 to confirm that it’s indeed the end of the line for the titular team, writing, “Season 5 will be the Final Season! Always my plan, I just had to be cagey till I got the final OK from Vought. Thrilled to bring the story to a gory, epic, moist climax.”

Meanwhile, The Boys are gearing up for their imminent season 4 return to Prime Video.

As The Boys gear up for their rematch with Homelander (Antony Starr) following that cliffhanger of a season 3 finale, it’s worth looking back on the source material itself: co-creators Garth Ennis’ and Darick Robertson’s adult comic book run of the same name. Given that The Boys takes plenty of inspiration from the comic, it seems natural that the impending finale will take a similar route. Or will it?

So, how does The Boys end in the comics?

Prime Video’s The Boys has rarely followed its comic book predecessor beat-for-beat. It has, however, integrated many of the same characters and storylines while taking some creative liberties to best bring the material to life onscreen, adding quips about the Vought Cinematic Universe, essentially redefining Ryan’s (Cameron Crovetti) entire existence, and adding a few gender swaps here and there (Stormfront and Victoria Neuman are both men in the comics).

While these slight tweaks haven’t been enough to drastically change the overarching story, they do make what’s about to happen in The Boys seasons 4 and 5 a whole lot more confusing. Prepare for some potential spoilers!

For one, Homelander is even more unhinged in the pages of the comics. He goes full American psycho in the penultimate volume, titled Over the Hill With the Swords of a Thousand Men. In it, a not-so-star-spangled Homelander recruits an army to storm the White House (overseen by Vought-American) and kill Vice President “Vic” Neuman. By now, The Seven is all but dead, as only Starlight and The Deep (Chace Crawford) remain. Eventually, The Boys arrive and “handle” Homelander’s forces.

Antony Starr as Homelander in a season 4 promo for 'The Boys'
(Prime Video)

However, when Butcher storms the White House, it’s not Homelander he comes face to face with. It’s revealed that Black Noir is actually a clone of Homelander and was specially designed to kill the former leader of The Seven should he ever go rogue. Well, after putting that on the backburner for way too long, Noir follows through on killing Homelander, but Butcher throws it right back and bludgeons Noir to death. And trust me, the story somehow gets even more violent.

In the comics, each member of The Boys takes a dose of Compound V—not just Butcher and Hughie. Because of this, everyone’s life is at risk as Butcher has secretly planted a network of bombs that can remotely kill anyone with even a trace of Comp V in their blood, including his own team. Considering that Butcher doesn’t have a reputation for being a trusting guy, he believes that Mother’s Milk, Frenchie, and The Female are all conspiring to stop him from blowing up what remains of the “supes” and finishes them off with grenades. Ouch.

However, Butcher’s always had a soft spot for Hughie. The latter tries to stop Butcher from pressing “go” on his mass murder spree, but things don’t exactly go to plan, and the pair falls off of the Empire State Building. It’s there, bloody and immobile on the pavement, that Butcher finally spills his master plan to Hughie and begs him to kill him before the police can arrive, as he’s become paralyzed and doesn’t want to be left sitting there “like a f—kin’ raspberry.” In a sheer act of desperation, Butcher taunts Hughie into believing that he killed his parents. Furious, Hughie stabs Butcher in the chest, only to discover that it was a lie—his mom and dad are alive, and he’s just murdered his friend.

Ultimately, Hughie ends up with Annie, and Vought’s superhero division has, at last, crumbled to the ground. Hughie still has access to the supe-killing technology created by Butcher and promises that he won’t hesitate to kill anyone with Compound V in their veins if Vought ever tries to pull a similar stunt again. So … happily ever after?

Obviously, The Boys TV show diverges quite a bit from the comic. After all, Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) was killed off in the season 3 finale and isn’t, to our knowledge, a clone of Homelander. Instead, he simply knew too much about The Seven’s all-powerful leader and became a serious threat. Ryan, the son of Homelander and Becca Butcher (Shantel VanSanten), also seems to play more of a key role in the Amazon series, as it looks like he’ll be hitting the campaign trail alongside his father in season 4.

We don’t know if The Boys will go out with a similar “bang” as the comics, but it’s worth mentioning again that so far, only Hughie and Butcher have ingested Comp V. Does this mean we’ll see the rest of the team following suit in season 4? If so, is Butcher still low-key planning their executions when the time comes? We’ll just have to wait and see, but with season 4 picking up on an eerily familiar plot line surrounding the U.S. government, it kind of feels like the dominoes are starting to fall.

Either way, we’re in for an action-packed season when The Boys returns to Prime Video on June 13, 2024.

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Amanda Landwehr
Amanda is a Los Angeles-based entertainment writer who lives and breathes Star Wars, Marvel, and all things pop culture. She has worked in digital media since 2021, covering the latest movie/TV releases, casting updates, fan theories, and so, so much more. When she's not rotting away behind her laptop screen, you can typically catch Amanda maxing out her AMC Stubs membership.