Marvel and DC are used to having things their own way on the big screen. That’s not always the case on TV, however, where less mainstream superhero action has started to win the day. In fact, after its stellar second outing, The Boys season 3 could just be the most eagerly anticipated thing to wear a cape on the small screen – especially as we’re still waiting for WandaVision to kick off Disney Plus’s Marvel TV shows in late 2020.
As with The Umbrella Academy season 3, The Boys season 3 is beautifully set up, with lots of intriguing story threads to pick up when it (eventually) returns. They’re so juicy, in fact, that we’re about to fly into SPOILER TERRITORY – so if you’re yet to catch up (check out the first of our The Boys season 2 recaps to see what you’ve been missing), we suggest you bookmark this page and come back later.
Because season 2 was packed with super revelations, including the world finding out that evil corporation Vought had created its superheroes with the Compound V drug, and that new supe superstar Stormfront was actually one of Hitler’s Nazi stooges in World War 2. We also saw the death of Billy Butcher’s wife, Becca; her son Ryan coming into superpowers of his own; and another bad day at the office for the whale/dolphin family.
So aside from plenty of bad taste, Homelander doing despicable things and the return of Love Sausage, what can we expect to see in The Boys season 3? Read on to find out what’s coming…
The Boys season 3 release date: when will we get to see it?
The Boys season 3 is definitely, officially happening. The question right now is when we’ll see it.
The spectacular success of The Boys season 2 – which, according to Business Insider, became the first non-Netflix series to debut on Nielsen’s list of the top streaming shows – made a third outing inevitable. In fact, a third season was confirmed before the second had even aired.
Showrunner Eric Kripke confirmed systems are go in a tweet from October 14, 2020, where he announced announced that “#TheBoys will return”, that it will start production in early 2021, and the Craig Rosenberg-scripted episode will be called “Payback”.
#TheBoys Will Return.#Season3 Begins Filming Early 2021You're Not Fucking Ready.#TheBoysTV @TheBoysTV @PrimeVideo @SPTV #SPNFamily @Sethrogen @antonystarr @JackQuaid92 @KarlUrban @ErinMoriarty_ @lazofficial @KarenFukuhara @The_JessieT @itsNateMitchell pic.twitter.com/sg0CdD74PcOctober 14, 2020
The now-familiar specter of coronavirus means we can’t be sure of The Boys season 3 release date. Season 1 debuted on July 26, 2019, while season 2 made its bow on September 4, 2020. Given the much later start date for production, however, (within a month of season 1 airing, producer Seth Rogen had already told Collider that he’d seen the first episode of season 2), we’d be surprised if we see the show return much before the end of 2021. We may even have to wait until 2022.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The third season of the hit adaptation of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s satirical superhero comic book series.
- Where can I watch it? As with the previous seasons, The Boys season 3 will be available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video.
- When can I watch it? A launch date is still TBC, but with production not due to start until early 2021, we’re unlikely to see it before the end of 2021.
The Boys season 3 trailer: is there one?
With production not under way yet, it's still too early for a The Boys season 3 trailer.
The Boys season 3 plot: what can we expect to see?
The season 2 finale wrapped up several key storylines. Vought put its Stormfront-fronted plans to start making Compound V available to the general public on hold, while The Boys disbanded, their many crimes (whether actual or not) pardoned by the US government. With Becca Butcher accidentally killed by her superpowered son Ryan, Billy Butcher reluctantly agreed to keep the kid safe – and away from the boy’s father, Homelander.
“Butcher’s in a devastated place,” Karl Urban (who plays Butcher) told Entertainment Weekly. “He has definitively lost the love of his life. It was some of the most intense, heavy experiences that I've had on any set.”
Co-star Jack Quaid (Hughie Campbell) pointed out that Becca was Butcher’s “entire motivation”, while Laz Alonso (Mother’s Milk) speculated that, “I can only imagine the rampage Butcher's gonna be on in season 3. I think he’s gonna go dark.”
Butcher’s arc won’t necessarily be nihilistic in The Boys season 3, however. In another Entertainment Weekly interview, Eric Kripke said, “[Billy's] really on the edge as a really fraught character. There's a chance he'll have learned what Becca tried to teach him and really do the right thing, and there's a chance that he'll anguish over her death sentence and plummet right over the edge.”
“Personally, I would like to see a smarter Butcher, a more dangerous Butcher,” added Urban. “I think Butcher’s fun when he's having fun, so I want to see more of that. I think he has to evolve beyond this example of toxic masculinity because that's going to wear thin. But Butcher’s still Butcher.”
The idealistic Hughie has now decided to go out on his own, signing up to join Congresswoman Victoria Neuman’s campaign against supes. Of course, this may be more dangerous than it first appears, now that Neuman has been revealed as a supe with the ability to explode other people’s heads.
“We want people worrying about thinking about the danger Hughie is in,” Kripke teased in Variety. “The poor guy is trying to fight the fight in a good way – in a legal way – and literally step one he finds himself working for a secret supe.”
There are also hints that things may start to get romantic between Frenchie (Tomer Capon) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara), the superpowered member of the group. Indeed, the last we saw of them, they were heading out to dance.
“We did talk about how far we wanted to take the romantic bits of that specific scene because it is very romantic,” Fukuhara told EW. “It's the silhouette of the two facing each other and then [the producers] went with the take where I waltz around dancing with him. But we did have some other takes where it was more platonic.”
As for how the Boys get back together, things are significantly more ambiguous. “The last Eric Kripke told us was, ‘You all just disband and I’m gonna have to figure out how to get you guys back together again,’” Alonso told Entertainment Weekly.
There’s just as much turbulence over at the Vought Tower, where there’s much more to worry about than resuming filming (and presumably rewriting) Hollywood blockbuster Dawn of the Seven. Now that Ryan’s turned his back on his dad, Homelander looks set to take his frustrations out on the rest of the world.
Antony Starr, who plays Homelander, said in Entertainment Weekly that Kripke has given him two words to encapsulate his character’s arc in The Boys season 3: “homicidal maniac”. “He’s a homicidal maniac anyway, so I’m not sure what that means.
“He’s totally betrayed, insecure and emasculated,” Starr added. “He’s been opened up emotionally and burned.
Also, we doubt he’s particularly happy about the prospect of inviting Queen Maeve and Starlight back into the Seven, especially after they betrayed him and turned on Stormfront. In Maeve’s case, he may have little choice, seeing as she’s in possession of incriminating video footage of him leaving a plane full of passengers to die.
Meanwhile for Starlight – who spent the whole of The Boys season 2 working against the Seven with her on/off boyfriend Hughie – it’ll be a case of taking the fight to Vought from within the organization. “By the end of season 2, I feel like she's coming back to herself,” actor Erin Moriarty said in EW. “So, what I hope is season 3 combines this newfound hope with the strength she found within herself with also who Annie is to her core, which is someone who is trusting and earnestly wants to save the world.”
We’re also intrigued to see how the reinstated A-Train integrates back into the Seven; if the threat of the airplane video is enough to make Homelander leave Maeve and her partner, Elena, alone; and whether Black Noir recovers from his severe reaction to tree nuts.
The disgraced Deep will surely be continuing his quest to find his way back in – a mission that may be even more challenging now that he’s got himself excommunicated from the Church of the Collective.
“The Deep is sort of like the Forrest Gump of Hollywood trends, and he just finds himself through every trend,” Kripke told TV Guide. “And so he found himself in the Church, and then in Season 3 you'll find him speaking out against the Church.
The Boys season 3: season 2's ending explained and unanswered questions
One of the biggest The Boys season 3 unanswered questions concerns how much of a role the badly injured Stormfront will get to play. In the season 2 finale, she was attacked by proto-supe Ryan and went the way of Anakin Skywalker, severely burned and losing three limbs. We last saw her deliriously babbling away in German before being taken away to what Vought boss Stan Edgar described as a “secure location”. She seemingly still has a role to play, however.
“She's not technically dead," actor Aya Cash (whose initial contract on The Boys was for one season) told Entertainment Weekly, "but I think you'll just have to see season 3 to find out what happened to her if she's going to be around at all in her smaller form.”
“She's not dead. She's just a stump,” added Kripke. "Among the writers and talking with Aya, we're like, 'Well, what is going to happen to Stumpfront?' So we’ll see.”
Stormfront’s diminished state means there‘s a vacancy to join Homelander in the Big Bad department. Now that she’s been outed as the supe who explodes heads, the smart money would have to be on Congresswoman Victoria Neuman.
Kripke told EW that Neuman “will play a big part in season 3. I don't want to say too much because there's a certain mystery in season 3 about exactly why Victoria is doing what she's doing. But, yeah, I think the overall theme of the show is you need to have a healthy suspicion of your authority figures, and that goes for all of them.”
He divulged a little more to Variety: “Having broken most of season 3, I think we have a pretty good idea of where her story goes and why she’s doing what she’s doing. There are some reveals and twists and turns, and similarly to what we’ve done with a lot of other characters from the books, Vic Neuman was a man in the books and he ends up getting deeper and deeper into politics as the comics go on. It’s the frightening notion that there might be a supe heading deep into American politics, which is screwed up enough already. So we start to play Victoria in that way in season 3.”
Beyond the main villains, the biggest The Boys season 3 unanswered questions surround what happens to the Church of the Collective now that its leader, Alastair Adana, has had his head popped by Victoria Neuman, and young Ryan. How will he get on without his mother, and with Billy Butcher as an unlikely guardian?
“Ryan will continue to be in the story in season three, actually,” Kripke said in a Twitter fan Q&A. “He kind of represents all that's good about Butcher and Butcher keeps tabs on him and they definitely interact, and it's kind of sweet. But Butcher obviously has crazy amounts of rage about what happened to Becca and still hates Homelander, so trying to balance those two sides of his personality is sort of the big struggle for him in season three.”
We’ve also learned a little more about the fate of a pair of supes we first encountered at Vought’s sinister Sage Grove Center. For starters, Cindy, the powerful telekinetic supe who allowed all the inmates to escape, was last seen getting picked up by a hitchhiker.
“When you're running a show it's just always smart to just plant little landmines everywhere that you can go back to and use and Cindy will return,” Kripke said in his Twitter Q&A. “I'm not entirely sure when, but before this show is over you will see Cindy again.”
Then there’s the small (or maybe not so small?) matter of Love Sausage, the supe who used his surprisingly long and prehensile penis to attack Mother’s Milk. It seems we haven’t seen the last of The Boys season 2’s most infamous new addition.
While Kripke did admit to EW that, ahem, extending Love Sausage’s role is difficult because he’s “so absurd”, he said that “without spoiling anything, someone just successfully pitched, not an extended return but a return of Love Sausage in season 3. So, there's more Love Sausage on the horizon.”
So how long will The Boys run? “The rough idea in my head is five seasons total,” Kripke said on his Twitter Q&A, “but I also know better than to say how many seasons a show is going to have”. (Supernatural, one of Kripke's shows, was originally envisaged as a five-season deal, yet has run for 15.)
“[Eric Kripke] does have an ending in mind that he likes and is working towards,” executive producer Seth Rogen told GamesRadar in August 2020. “But I do also know how fluid these things are. I know some of my favorite shows were not plotted out incredibly specifically, but, to my knowledge, he has an endgame in sight and an ideal number of seasons in his head.
"But again, these things change, and I've literally been in the writers' room where someone says something and you go, ‘Oh no, maybe we need two more seasons to do this idea we all like!’ But he's been very deliberate in the plotting out of the show, and we talk so much about a crowd-pleasing experience with the show and making our TV equivalent of a fun, edgy blockbuster.”
The Boys season 3 cast: new characters and who we expect to return
With even Aya Cash’s Stormfront seemingly up for a return, The Boys season 3 cast is set to be largely unchanged, save for a key new member. The likely exceptions are likely to be Shantel VanSanten as Billy Butcher’s late wife, Becca, and the characters whose heads exploded in extremely gory style (notably Jennifer Esposito’s CIA boss Susan Raynor and Goran Višnjić’s Church of the Collective leader Alastair Adana). Even they could return in flashback, however.
Among the Boys, that means we’ll see more from Karl Urban as Billy Butcher, Jack Quaid as Hughie Campbell, Laz Alonso as Mother’s Milk, Tomer Capon as Frenchie and Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko.
Over in the Vought Tower, meanwhile, Antony Starr will be suiting up once again as Homelander, alongside Erin Moriarty as Starlight, Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve, Nathan Mitchell as Black Noir and Jessie T. Usher as the reinstated A-Train. Chace Crawford will also surely be trying to find new ways to force his way back into the Seven as The Deep.
Now that Congresswoman Victoria Neuman has been revealed as the headpopper-in-chief, Claudia Doumit seems set for a much bigger role in The Boys season 3 cast. We’d also be surprised if Giancarlo Esposito doesn’t return as Vought CEO Stan Edgar, and if Laila Robins isn’t back as the Boys’ former handler Grace Mallory, especially now that Neuman has asked her to head up a superhero taskforce.
The big new addition to The Boys season 3 cast is Jensen Ackles, who has a bit of time on his hands now that his 15-season run on Supernatural is coming to an end. The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke also created the long-running CW show, so the pair have history working together – though it looks like the role Ackles will be playing couldn’t be more different to Dean Winchester.
Soldier Boy is a supe who became an icon fighting for the US in World War 2 – The Boys’ answer to Captain America. In the comics he’s more of a figure of fun, but – as with many of the characters in the TV show – he’s been reinvented for the Amazon Prime series.
“I think anyone expecting Jensen to show up and be a good guy, they will be disappointed!” Kripke told Variety. “In the comics he’s mostly just kind of bumbling and subservient to Homelander, I would say. As we’re writing him in this, we’re getting to really talk about the history of Vought because he’s like John Wayne: he’s one of these guys that’s been around for decades of Vought history. And he was Homelander before Homelander, so he’s from a different era, but he’s got the ego and ambition – it just comes across in a different way because he’s from a different time.”
Soldier Boy’s presence also alludes to the involvement of “Payback” in The Boys season 3. As well as being the title of the first episode, Payback are another superhero group in the comics. It featured Stormfront (in his original male incarnation) and Soldier Boy among its members.
“One of the reasons that we're getting into Soldier Boy and that team, Payback, is we're interested in exploring a little bit of how we got here,” Kripke explained to Entertainment Weekly. “Through the history of the supes, we can tell a little bit about the history of America and how we ended up in the current fraught position that we‘re in. Soldier Boy gives us an opportunity to do that.”
Kripke has also confirmed to TV Guide that Soldier Boy has history with Stormfront:
“He knew her when she was Liberty. There's a history of Vought that we're starting to map out because Soldier Boy has been a mainstay of Vought for decades. He was like John Wayne there, and so as a result, we're writing the history of Vought and how all the characters weave in together. And yeah, now Liberty is definitely a part of that.”
If only we didn't have to wait a year or longer to find out more, eh?
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