It’s less than ten days before season two of Amazon Prime Video’s The Boys begins streaming. and, friends, you’re not ready. The second season is darker and more dangerous than the first, diving deeper inside the characters and literally going deep inside things like … a whale. No joke. It’s fantastic and shocking, just like season one, but even more disturbing. But like, in a really good way!
We talked to the cast earlier this month and have a few teases about what to expect from the bonkers and bloody second season. Series creator and showrunner Eric Kripke said what he’s really excited for fans to see this season isn’t actually the crazy action or weird twists, it’s the way the series goes deeper into the characters.
“I mean, look there’s a ton of crazy shit,” Kripke told The Mary Sue, referencing the scene where the titular Boys ram a speedboat into a whale and the subsequent madness. “I think that there are things this season that are more insane than the whale, frankly. But weirdly the thing I’m most excited for them to see is how hard we worked on the characters.” The creator added: “It’s funny because our goal at the beginning of this season was ‘we don’t want to go bigger, we want to go deeper,’ and so we really looked at how do we corner each character and put them through the worst possible scenario for each of them specifically and then just see how they react and reveal new facets of who they are.”
But yes, sometimes those moments happen deep in the guts of a marine mammal. “I really I swear to god, people will laugh at this, I swear to god when we were finishing it I was nervous because I was like, you know it … maybe it’s just too thoughtful and introspective a season?” Kripke was worried the season would be too heavy even when it was done filming. The response from people who had seen it? “‘What are you talking about! It’s so much bigger than the first season!’ I was like ‘it is?’ I see it as this intimate thought piece because that’s entirely what I’ve been focused on this entire time.”
Having seen the season, I can assure fans and Mr. Kripke, that it’s both more psychologically interesting and all the more batshit. “So apparently it’s also huge,” Kripke laughed. “But I do think we take those characters to some really intense places.”
And some of those places are incredibly topical. The Boys has never shied away from tackling sexism, corporate corruption, nationalism, and more and this season goes even further. The ways the series confronts racism and white supremacy this season seems particularly relevant to what’s happening in the world today.
Was Kripke looking into the future knowing this would be on-topic? No. “None of the issues we talk about in the show are new, sadly,” Kripke shared. “We talk a lot about white nationalism and systemic racism … but those were issues a year ago, five years ago, a hundred years ago. It’s just now it happens to be at the front of everybody’s mind.”
Something else on his mind is the way corporations, like Vought on the show or a thousand other real ones, use social justice as marketing. “The way corporations hijack real feminism, how they’re currently in real-time hijacking the BLM movement,” Kripke said, is extremely important. “They’re well-meaning people but at the end of the day a corporation’s job is to make money, so we wanted to satirize how sort of performative they are in their liberalism because it’s really just to make money and it frankly harms the movements because you stop thinking about real change and start thinking ‘wow what a great Pepsi commercial.'”
No character embodies that better than Stormfront, the new member of the Seven played by Aya Cash. Stormfront calls out Vought’s fake feminism marketing, and she’s right to call out, according to Cash, “corporations using feminism as a way to de-villainize themselves. Which obviously we’re seeing in other aspects of the world besides feminism right now.” But Stormfront is also a villain herself, and her being right about that doesn’t excuse her other terrible behavior. “It also gets very complicated because I am a villain,” Cash explained. “Being right about something doesn’t make you right about everything.
Speaking of villains, our main baddie and leader of the Seven, Homelander, will butt heads with Stormfront and will also find himself in the unfamiliar waters of parenthood as he tries to connect with his biological son and with Butcher’s estranged wife Becca, who it was revealed last season wasn’t dead, but in hiding.
“It’s a whole new challenge for Homelander and he’s relatively inept when it comes to parenting,” Antony Starr explained. Homelander wants to only see himself in his kid, and not a person. “There’s this little version of him running around that he wants to turn into another him. I think it’s pretty narcissistic.” But Homelander is a bad guy because he was a very damaged kid himself. That’s one way Starr finds some of the humanity in the character he’s playing. “There’s more than just a stereotypical villain going on: I think there’s a lot more with all the characters on the show,” Starr said.
Another complicated character tied in with all of this? Billy Butcher himself, who’s coming at things from a very different perspective this season, according to Karl Urban. “Season two is a bit of a game-changer for Billy Butcher with regard to the cliffhanger,” Urban shared, “it sort of alters the trajectory of Butcher significantly. Season one was about really getting revenge at all costs against Vought and against the seven particularly against Homelander, season two about you know, reunification with his wife.”
It’s a whole different Butcher at the beginning of the season, says Urban. He’s “a lot more vulnerable and a lot more desperate and he needs the boys in order to help him.” For Urban as an actor, it was a good challenge. “It was fun to be able to play these different shades.” But also, challenging to do things like pilot a speed boat into the side of a whale.
We’ll have more (very literal) deep dives on The Boys after season two debuts September fourth on Amazon Prime Video, but rest assured that if you loved the blood brilliance of season one, you’re in for another wild, bloody and fun ride in season two.
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