50 Facts From The Hit Amazon Prime Show The Boys
Superheroes and comic books have been beloved by the world since their inception. Heroic epochs have existed throughout human history starting with Gilgamesh some 4,000 years ago.
This led to the inspiration of comic books and superheroes as we know and love them today, which brings us to the topic at hand, The Boys. Amazon Prime picked up the hit show which premiered in 2019 and has just begun airing its 3rd season. We will be exploring 50 facts about The Boys that you may not have known, and as a warning, this may contain spoilers.
From Comics to Film to TV
DC and Marvel Similarities
There are a lot of similarities between the superheroes seen between The Boys and DC and Marvel characters. The fighting team found in The Boys, “The Seven,” appears to have been inspired by the Justice League.
Homelander, Maeve, A-Train, The Deep, and Black Noir appear to be inspired by Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Batman respectively. Starlight was inspired by the X-Men character Jubilee, both being the youngest on the team with light-based powers, and Soldier Boy appears to be influenced by both Captain America and Winter Soldier.
For the most part, movies and TV shows have been family-friendly when superheroes are involved as R-rated depictions have slowly become more common over the last 2 decades.
The MCU has yet to release an R-rated film and DC’s R-rated films can still be considered family-friendly. The Boys leans hard into its adult ratings and does so in spectacular fashion. Its extreme depictions of violence, drugs, and sex are enough for a parent to agree with, not to mention the heavy use of profanity. These themes were much more graphic in the comics which would have never been approved by any TV network.
It’s common practice with filmmaking to use real cities portrayed as other cities, this is no different with The Boys.
Arch nemeses Butcher and Homelander are portrayed by Karl Urban and Antony Starr respectively, the men were practically neighbors as they share their hometown of Wellington, New Zealand. Though it seems the two met after their acting careers took off, both actors also appeared in the TV series Xena: The Warrior Princess. Urban played multiple characters including Cupid, Julius Caesar, Kor, and Mael while Starr played David and Mesas.
The Women Do It Better
There are quite a few differences between the comic book and the TV adaptation, of course, the themes were turned down a bit but also within many of the characters.
The comics included several male characters that were altered into women for the Amazon Prime adaptation. Madelyn Stillwell portrayed by Elisabeth Shue is James Stillwell, Grace Mallory portrayed by Laila Robins is Greg Mallory, Victoria Newman portrayed by Claudia Dormit is Victor Newman and Stormfront portrayed by Aya Cash was a male in the comic series.
Not only have characters been altered for the TV adaptation, but some characters have also been created exclusively for the Amazon Prime show.
The live-action show features characters like Translucent from season 1 who replaced the comic book character Jack From Jupiter. Blue Hawk, Blindspot, Doppelganger, Ezekiel, Mesmer, and Shockwave were also created for the live-action Amazon Prime series that didn’t exist in the comic books. And who knows what other new characters are planned to be brought to the silver screen.
The Deep, portrayed by Kevin Moskowitz, experienced one of the biggest downgrades in the TV adaptation in his storyline and personality.
Ryan is portrayed by Cameron Crovetti and is the son of Becca Butcher and Homelander, whose appearance in the live-action adaptation surprised fans upon his arrival.
There is one word that comes to mind when describing the differences between Hughie, portrayed by Jack Quaid, in the show, and in the comics, and that is confidence.
Hughie serves as a punching bag in the comics and seems to struggle with standing up for himself. He isn’t even able to make eye contact with Butcher in half of their interactions. He does begin to show some backbone eventually in the comics, and live-action Hughie has been growing more and more into his role as one of The Boys as the show continues to progress.
Kimiko is portrayed by Karen Fukuhara and is given one of the best transformations on the show as well. She is the most powerful of The Boys in the live-action adaptation as well as in the comics.
In the comics, she doesn’t have a name and is only known as “The Female” who accidentally ate Compound V which granted her powers in contrast to being corporate collateral damage in the TV series. She’s definitely stronger mentally in the TV series as well, being able to communicate with others better than in the comics and has more conviction in her emotions.
Homelander isn’t above the adaptation transformation either and this could be argued as one of the best changes as well. In the comics, his antics are somewhat childish and impulsive which doesn’t lead to much of a dynamic personality.
Billy Butcher went through several changes as well that led to a much more likable character in the TV series; his actions in the comics can be equally as detestable as Homelander’s.
With more of his humane side being seen on screen, you wouldn’t expect his comic counterpart to have acted opposite in many situations, primarily, the reason Ryan had essentially no storyline in the comics is that Butcher murdered him after he was born. In the comics, Butcher also consumed a temporary form of Compound V regularly to battle against the supes along with the other members of The Boys.
Annie and Hughie
Kimiko and Frenchie
Kimiko and Frenchie's relationship shares some parallels with the comics but is overall much more dynamic.
Kimiko only communicated with Frenchie in the comics much as she does on the show, with only a secret language between the two of them. They also had a different dynamic of a relationship in which Frenchie was more of a father figure and served more as a protector. On the show, you see more of the possibility of romance between them as they work to cope with their abusive pasts together.
The Boys as a group went through a storyline change that involved them all having powers in the comics, only Kimiko has full-time powers in the Amazon series.
While The Boys aren't wielding superpowers, they still use genius intellect to take down their foes. This change makes the story more gripping than just panels of Butcher and the gang just throwing hands. With the way the seasons have been unfolding though it's only a matter of time before we see Compound V in the hands of The Boys.
Mother’s Milk, portrayed by Laz Alonzo, went through many changes as well being that he’s a better father on the show than in the comics and refuses to use superpowers.
His name hasn’t been expounded upon on the show and you may be shocked to learn of its origin. In the comics, MM was born with superpowers due to his mother using Compound V and the transfer of the serum through her milk, which he has to keep drinking in order to maintain his abilities. MM in the comics also gave powers to his daughter which led to her hating him, but he has a strong relationship with her in the TV show.
A-Train’s changes from the comics to the TV series were for the better and the worst of it (harassing Starlight) was given to The Deep.
A-Train was a white man in the comics and changed to star Jessie T. Usher for the TV series which came with a brother who didn’t exist in the comics. Another difference is the origin story for Hughie which was still the death of his girlfriend but it was caused by A-Train throwing a monster he was fighting that collided with her. He’s just as self-centered in the comics and is often disrespected by his peers and almost everyone else around him. Hopefully, he makes better decisions in later episodes.
Black Noir is portrayed by Nathan Mitchell and his changes are minor as he remains the silent, Batman-esque figure in both the comics and the TV show.
Becca Butcher is Billy’s wife and the mother of Ryan who appears during the 1st and 2nd seasons of The Boys.
Lamplighter, portrayed by Shawn Ashmore, is a character who gained a surprising amount of complexity in contrast to the comic book portrayal.
For starters, his uniform is entirely different, and instead of the tired, scruffy look of the live-action, the comic book variant is clean-shaven with long blond hair. They share the backstory of killing Mallory’s grandchildren but the live-action Lamplighter killed them by accident, whereas the comic book Lamplighter killed them on purpose out of revenge. Ashmore ironically portrayed Iceman in the X-Men series but shares the exact same ability as his rival Pyro, who also uses a lighter to manipulate fire.
Frenchie is portrayed by Tomer Capone and his character also experienced some interesting changes.
Frenchie is the most violent of The Boys in the comics and is the quickest to act upon it while his live-action counterpart is more strategic with his attacks and is often the slowest to violence out of his teammates. His past being riddled with abuse parallels between the show and the comics but on the show, he shows more emotional awareness. He also shows a clear intelligence on the show with his ability to create supe killing weapons, while in the comics, he rarely shows his intelligence in meaningful ways.
Soldier Boy is portrayed by Jensen Ackles and was the original star of The Seven before Homelander took over.
He experiences an incredible upgrade from his comic backstory as well, in which he pretends to be who he is on the TV show. He’s been depicted as cowardly and a bootlicker throughout the series so it was refreshing to see him being true to form in his live-action appearance. Soldier Boy's powers are relatively the same but the TV show introduces his Compound V killing blast that has struck the fear of God into Homelander.
Aya Cash portrays Stormfront in the live-action adaptation and sells the character so well that you’d never believe that this was her first action role as she normally acts in comedy and drama projects.
Stan Edgar is portrayed by Giancarlo Esposito and is quite the standout compared to his comic book counterpart.
In fact, Edgar never appears in the comics and is only mentioned by name, his surprise appearance was only multiplied by seeing his portrayal. He was the man behind the scenes until later in season 1 when he appeared after Stillwell’s death. Edgar holds a commanding presence as well being one of the only people who are completely unphased by Homelander and shows no intimidation when showing him exactly how the chess pieces will move.
Seth Rogen Produces
Seth Rogen was originally set to direct the pilot alongside his partner Evan Goldberg but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts, but he did sign on to be a producer and the show has benefitted from it.
"We bought the first issue of The Boys when it came out and we were like, 'Oh my god, this would make a great movie. Regular people fighting superheroes”, Rogen stated in an interview. Rogen has owned the rights for over a decade now and has spent most of those years shopping the series as a movie to multiple companies. Ironically, they were never selected to write or produce on the show or any of the series before it was picked up by Amazon.
The Boys was a nightmare to produce as it would get picked up and dropped for almost a decade. The show was first picked up by Cinemax in 2008, but they didn’t want Rogen or Goldberg to write or produce, and the show was eventually dropped due to budget issues.
Producer Adam Mckay picked up The Boys to make a movie in 2010 but was unable to make anything solid so he let it go. Then it was picked up in 2012 by Paramount Pictures where the series met the same fate. The project was finally picked up by Amazon Studios in 2017 and finally began airing on Prime Video in 2019.
Eric Kripke is the creator of the comic books, executive producer, and showrunner for The Boys. He also created the epic shows Timeless and Supernatural for which the latter ran for 15 seasons and is the longest-running genre show in American History.
Kripke has brought over talent from both of his previous shows to also appear in The Boys. Claudia Doumit, Goran Visnjic, Malcolm Barrett, and Shantel VanSanten were all regulars on Timeless and now portray Victoria Neuman, Alastair Adana, Seth Reed, and Becca Butcher respectively. Soldier Boy actor Jensen Ackles served as the lead, Dean Winchester, on Supernatural.
Garth Ennis created The Boys because he hated superhero comic books and stated in the LA Times, "They seem to be the perfect fantasy of hope and empowerment for a world that increasingly lacks either."
The comics focus on the Bush-era and feature many sociopolitical issues that have been the focal point for change through the last decade, and also began during the boom of superhero content in every form of media. By the time the show began airing, issues like the Me-too and alt-right movements were underway and the nearly 20-year-old series was more relevant than ever.
It seems that everyone is a fan of The Boys, the show is rated 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and will certainly not be canceled due to a lack of viewers.
One of those millions of fans is former president Barack Obama who listed the show as one of his favorite shows that he’s currently watching. He stated in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that, “they turn superhero conventions on their heads to lay bare issues of race, capitalism, and the distorting effects of corporate power and mass media.” He also stated that he’s a fan of The Watchmen, which is a superhero series that covers similar themes and also features an alternate version of the Justice League.
Ennis and Rogen Connection
On an episode of Hot Ones featuring Seth Rogen, he went into detail about how excited he was to bring The Boys to the big screen.
He spoke about how he read The Boys and instantly fell in love with it and wanted to work with Garth Ennis to make the live-action adaptation into a real thing. While the road was a difficult one, they were still able to persevere and make it happen, much like they did with Preacher, which was also a comic book series created by Ennis. Rogen and his partner, Evan Goldberg, both worked as producers on Preacher as well and it's clear with how the graphic scenes, violence, and themes of both shows are portrayed.
As it has been well established by now, The Seven are basically the Justice League and like any team of superheroes, their headquarters are extravagant.
The Seven HQ in the comics is similar to the Justice League satellite, both facilities are housed high above the citizens they protect while overlooking their horizons. The TV series building is more reflective of Marvel’s Avengers Tower, especially since both skyscrapers call New York City home. The Seven did have celebrity status in the comics but it was nothing compared to the show with the supes being seen everywhere from street corners to movie screens.
Whenever they’re wearing a T-Shirt there is always a musician or movement being shown. Many times the shirt's themes could be omens, like when Hughie wore a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers shirt moments before his girlfriend Robin was killed. MM’s shirts often feature artists whose themes can be radical and monuments to activism that he fights for. This is also true for MM in the comics as he dresses the same way, one of the few design choices that remained true to the comics from the TV show.
Compound V will either give you powers or kill you on the show and it has to be taken by injection on the show. While in the comics, the former is true but it can also be taken with drugs to give a temporary effect. The comics also have some horrible side effects for anyone that takes Compound V while the show only has those side effects in the temporary version. Comic book supes can also never die because the body affected by Compound V cannot die even though their mental facilities will, supes will essentially turn into zombies.
Karen Fukuhara Learns ASL
Black Noirs Allergies
It's an age-old tale that actors have had some temperature issues in their suits and that problem followed The Boys as well. Homelander’s suit particularly is one that’s very elaborate and made with dense material that can lead to overheating actor Antony Starr. The design team installed a cooling system in the suit that attaches to an air conditioning unit that Starr uses in between takes, and he is even partially undressed while shooting some scenes.
Hughie and the Boat
Quaid signed on to do some of his own stunts and this one, in particular, required sitting in the front of a speeding boat. Quaid had a safeword for when he felt unsafe but the high speeds of the boat, splashing waves, and nearby helicopter that was used for filming made it impossible for anyone on the boat to hear him. As it turned out, he had been screaming throughout the shoot and his face was white as snow from his ongoing terror.
The Boys and Billy Madison?
Six degrees of separation is a theory that can connect any two things within six interactions, usually, this is done with people but it's amazing to see it with places.
You wouldn’t expect The Boys and Billy Madison to have this connection but they do. The Madison Estate is actually known as the Parkwood Estate in Oshawa, Canada, and has been used in a number of films and TV series throughout the years. The estate was used on The Boys as the home for Jonah Vogelbaum, the Vought scientist that raised Homelander.
The Plane Crash
One of the most tragic events that took place in the TV series happened in season 1 when Homelander and Maeve failed to save a flight from a terrorist attack.
This was something that occurred in the comics as well but slightly different. The event itself is based on 9/11 in the comics and saw Homelander, Maeve, and Lamplighter attempting to thwart the assailants. While they were able to keep the plane from crashing into the Twin Towers, it still crashed into the Brooklyn Bridge and still caused mass casualties. Just like the TV show, the comics saw Vought doing everything they could to cover up their heroes’ failures.
Each episode shows just how much The Boys are willing to push the envelope to the extreme. Many of the scenes were shot in public places in Toronto and for the most part, the locals tolerated the gruesome sets except for one.
In a scene that shows Homelander losing it and fantasizing about mowing down a crowd of protestors, many locals saw this and it reminded them of an attack that took place at the filming location in 2018. This led to actual protestors showing up at the film set who did not want to see this being made and production was halted when Councillor John Fillion answered their calls and stepped in to shut it down.
One of the craziest scenes in season 2 took place when The Boys got into a fight with The Deep, who chased their speeding boat into a whale.
The scene takes a turn for the worst when Butcher decides to ram the boat into the whale that sends The Deep flying and knocks him out. The scene was incredibly gruesome and realistic but fortunately, no whales were hurt to produce it. The scene took a week to film and the whale took five months to create out of silicone and Styrofoam, there were also tubes and pumps to make the muscles move and blood spurt while filming inside
Too Extreme for Season 1
Season 3 was announced before season 2 was released and season 4 was announced during season 3 which means we can probably expect the same of the 5th season. There are also 2 planned spinoff series being planned with The Boys: Diabolical already airing its first season. The second show hasn’t been announced yet but we already know to expect it to be as wild and crazy as the franchise has proven itself to be.