Your favorite show of vigilante bad boys fighting narcissistic superheroes is coming back to a streaming service near you. The Amazon original series The Boys is posed to debut its second season on September 4 via the Prime Video streaming service. Similar to the first season, this upcoming season will consist of eight hour-long episodes, however, each installment will be released on a weekly basis.
The Boys, developed for television by Eric Kripke (Supernatural), is based on a comic book series under the same name. The comic books and series follow a vigilante group of misfits combating against an evil corporation in Vought that controls and protects superheroes who are ultimately abusive with their talents towards non-superheroes. Kripke provided a description of the Amazon original series’ story. “[The show is] what would be the most stringent reality if something is absurd as superheroes existed in the real world,” said Kripke. The series’ cast of vigilantes includes Karl Urban (Dredd) as the groups’ leader in Billy Butcher, Jack Quaid (The Hunger Games) as main protagonist Hughie, Laz Alonso (Avatar, Detroit) as Mother’s Milk, Tomer Capon (Fauda) as Frenchie, and Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad) as Kimiko.
Meanwhile, the supes at Vought consist of Antony Starr (Banshee) as the psychopathic supe leader Homelander, Jessie Usher (Shaft) as the fastest man on the planet A-Train, Dominique McElligott (Moon, House of Cards) as Queen Maeve, Chace Crawford (Gossip Girl) as The Deep, Nathan Mitchell (Supernatural) as the silent assassin Black Noir, and Erin Moriarty (True Detective) as Annie/Starlight, Hughie’s love interest. Joining the supes cast for the second season is Aya Cash (You’re the Worst) as a millennial supe in Stormfront in addition to Shawn Ashmore (The Following) as the ex-member of The Seven, Lamplighter.
Conducted virtually over Zoom, mxdwn television was able to participate in a roundtable discussion with some of The Boys season two cast. Split into pairs, the groups consisted of Quaid and Moriarty, Urban and Alonso, Capon and Fukuhara, Starr and Cash, Crawford and Usher, and Kripke by himself.
At the conclusion of season one, the vigilante crew proved to be at the forefront of the supes such as Homelander and A-Train’s concerns due to their intent on overthrowing the Vought corporation. Kripke explained his thoughts on the process of developing the second installment for the series. “I walked into season two fairly nervous because I was so happy with how season one turned out,” said Kripke. “The writers and I decided early on that the mistake a lot of second-year shows that they try and top the first season. Trying to go bigger and bigger every season is unsustainable so we wanted to try and go deeper.” He delved further into the series’ character developments as well. “We did mental exercise of what’s the worst position we could put every single character in and we did it!” he said. “We have Butcher knowing his wife’s out there and he can’t get to her. We have Hughie apart from Annie. We have Homelander, there’s another superhero that’s stealing his spotlight.”
Season two of the original series centers on the vigilante crew while being on the run from the law and the supes with Homelander and A-Train at the helm. The first season was grounded in establishing the idea of community and family between the characters Hughie, Butcher, Mother’s Milk, Frenchie, and Kimiko. However, as the season progressed, Hughie developed a stronger voice and leadership skills which led to a rift within the crew which has now carried over to the second season.
While the rest of the group is on the run, Butcher remains absent following the revelation his wife is still out there, prompting many fans of the original comic book series and the show to wonder if they will learn more about the character’s backstory. Urban commented on the possibility of increased knowledge of his origins in season two. “We are going to find [out] more about Butcher. The season, particularly his backstory,” Urban said. “We get to sort of understand a little bit more about that monster that lives within Butcher. The one that, you know, comes out every now and then and smashes people’s heads into bathroom sinks,” Urban said. Urban further explained what the audience can expect from season two and Butcher’s backstory. “You definitely get to delve a little bit into how Butcher became the man he is and you discover he really was that guy well before he met Becca,” said Urban. Following Urban’s revelation about his character’s backstory, Alonso quickly quipped about these season two moments. “That was probably some of my favorite stuff watching. The second season was seeing that develop finding out where Butcher got it from,” said Alonso.
Similar to his relationship with the rest of his vigilante crew, Quaid’s character Hughie found a new romantic connection with Annie, or better known as Starlight, one of The Seven, to the general public. However, due to the conflict of interests between Quaid’s motivation to take down the supes and his feelings for Annie, the two ultimately break apart as a couple from this dishonesty and has left the relationship up in the air for season two. Moriarty explained her perspective on her character’s relationship with Hughie. “We try and strike this balance between honoring the comic book and taking our own liberties,” said Moriarty. “If we [Annie and Hughie] didn’t end up together, Annie and Hughie would end it on a good note that would imply they would be very good friends forever. What makes it so deep is that they’re also best friends.” This was reinforced by Quaid as well. “It’s what we call a trauma bond,” said Quaid. “They both [have] been through a lot and a lot of similar things.”
In season one, Hughie was able to develop romantic feelings for Annie in addition to instilling leadership skills and a bigger voice for himself. The audience’s introduction to Hughie begins with a soft-spoken kid who has witnessed the tragedy of his girlfriend Robin at the hands of A-Train. The death of Robin was seen as the main motivator and introduction for Hughie’s actions during season one, yet he has begun to branch out. Quaid explained whether Robin is still the main motivator in Hughie’s actions. “I think Robin is always in the back of his mind,” said Quaid. “I think he is always fighting in some way for justice for her.” Quaid further elaborated on his overall state of mind after being thrust into dangerous positions he was not accustomed to in season one. “In addition to that, Hughie is in it now,” said Quaid. “He knows everybody. Nobody is going to trick him; he kind of knows everybody’s tricks. So, he is in the situation now and he has to decide what he wants out of it. There are a lot more players in his life…he weirdly has a bigger circle of friends and support systems now that he’s in this horrible situation than he did with just Robin. It’s a dynamic and it’s always changing, but Robin is for sure always in the back of his mind. 100%.”
As Kripke mentioned, whether you are a supe or a regular guy like Hughie fighting injustice, the writing for season two aimed to put each character in a compromising position in order to reveal more inner truths about the characters. One of the key breakout stars of season one was Starr’s Homelander. As the psychopathic and manipulating leader of Vought’s illustrious The Seven, season one concludes with Homelander securing his place at the top of the superhero corporation. However, season two introduces a new superhero to clash with this established pecking order. Starr commented on Homelander’s season two challenges. “He is very comfortable being at the top of the food chain when it comes to The Seven,” said Starr. “I always look at it as the mother and father in one. Then this person [Stormfront] comes along that really challenges that and everything that Homelander is.” Starr explained further on the season one perspective of his character and how Stormfront’s arrival will upset this established view. “Everyone has a healthy degree of fear and respect for Homelander and this one turns up none of that,” said Starr. “It is quite a difficult position she puts him in and it develops throughout the season and definitely keeps Homelander on his toes. Keeps every member of The Seven on their toes, she does not stop at Homelander with fucking with people. Seven watch out.”
As a newcomer to the series, Cash’s Stormfront is intended to be a millennial addition to The Seven as she is adept at utilizing social media, but regardless this introduction can create yet another shakeup at Vought. Cash went in to describe her new character. “She’s there to shake things up, just from a social media perspective, and her ability in that area and her following and the transition from traditional media to online and her talents there,” said Cash. “I think that’s part of the reason she got brought in. She’s got very specific ideas about what should happen to The Seven and aspirations to lead The Seven in a specific type way. So she’s coming for Homelander.” Cash further stated the extent of her threat towards Homelander and other supes. “In her mind, she either gets him on her side or he’s out. We’ll see,” said Cash.
While Kripke directly mentions the plights that Hughie, Butcher, Annie, Homelander, and Stormfront will be taking on this season, the remaining characters still face their own challenges following the conclusion of season one. While on the run, the vigilante group is absent of their leader in Butcher which leaves Alonso’s Mother’s Milk as the remaining peacekeeper and parental figure of the group. Alonso further provided a description for his character’s capability of a parental figure while Butcher remains absent. “They’re all very very strong personalities,” said Alonso. “Mother’s Milk has a history with pretty much all of them except Hughie and Kimiko. You know, he embraces Hughie very early on and decides to groom him because he knows that if he doesn’t groom him, he’s going to follow Butcher’s leader. He knows he can’t control two Butchers. One is hard enough.” Alonso continues to elaborate on the challenge facing him in season two due to Butcher’s absence and Hughie’s rising leadership skills. “It’s a challenge for him to try to reel Hughie back in season two because Hughie is now embracing being one of us,” said Alonso. “It becomes almost, you know, you got a teen in the house,” said Alonso. Urban supported this notion concerning the group power dynamic. “MM is really the adult in the room,” Urban said when comparing Mother’s Milk to Butcher’s leadership qualities.
Staying with the vigilante group, one of the most interesting character relationships in The Boys is the dynamic between the powerful supe Kimiko and the outsider member of the group in Frenchie. Despite Kimiko’s inability to talk, the two instantly connected over shared trauma and developed a special bond. Fukuhara shared what the audience can expect from Kimiko in relation to connecting with others in season two. “At the end of season one, we see Kimiko kind of becoming more of a part of The Boys,” said Fukuhara. “There’s trust-building, especially in the last episode. There’s a lot of trust-building there,” She explains. Fukuhara then delves into how the group continues this trust-building between them all in the upcoming season. “In season two, you see all of them assembled together,” said Fukuhara. “They’ve been living in this dingy location with no shower so they’ve kind of created this bond. [In the] beginning of the season, you see them all kind of figuring their ways around one another and it progresses into something more, deeper, and special,” declared Fukuhara.
Capon elaborated on character transformation, whether individually or relationship-wise, in season two of The Boys. “Season two genuinely goes even deeper inside each and every character,” affirms Capon. “With Kimiko and Frenchie’s characters, [the show] goes into Frenchie’s origin story and a little bit about the whole thing we started revealing about [Grace] Mallory, the [former] commander of The Boys, with her grandchildren and what happened to The Boys which split apart,” said Capon. Capon further explains what the audience can expect to see from the early onset of season two. “Now, with the family coming back together [and] joined with some new family members,” said Capon. “Season two is opening without the family’s father, Butcher, and we don’t know where he is and we are on the run.”
In contrast to two members of the vigilante group, The Boys featured two supes in their first season make mistakes and experience a fall from grace in A-Train and The Deep. Usher gave his reasoning for Crawford’s and his character’s ability to redeem himself from past actions. “I don’t think move on is the term necessarily,” said Usher. “They kind of have to deal with it. They’re both at a place in their lives where they can’t just move past things anymore. They’ve both fucked up to the point where they cannot be covered by the Vought conglomerate anymore. They just can’t be swept under the rug,” Usher states. Usher then changes his focus to just on his character A-Train. “They have to deal with what they’ve done and they have no idea how they’re going to do it,” said Usher. “A-Train, he has no clue. He is figuring out as he goes. And it’s too much for him and it’s more than what he’s been able to do in the past. And because he kind of turned his back on everyone who has [had] his back, he gotta do it alone. You will watch him figure that out in season two,” said Usher. Crawford replied by commenting on the redemption, or the lack of redemption, qualities in his character, The Deep. “I think he would do anything anyone told him,” said Crawford. “Do I need to apologize? Like, what do I need to do in his mind to make it right? Where, in reality, he’s just trying to make it look right, like am I good now? He is genuinely close to rock bottom. He is open, broken enough to at least try some self-exploration,” said Crawford.
In preparation for the premiere of season two, The Boys conducted a Comic-Con @ Home panel in late July where executive producer Seth Rogen (Superbad) arrived at the Zoom call to announce that the Amazon series has been renewed for a third season. Kripke provided an explanation for the current status of season three. “I have been in the virtual writers’ room almost since quarantine,” stated Kripke. “We are halfway through the season of scripts and breaks. We should be probably all the way done with the versions of the scripts in 3 months or so,” Kripke declares. When referring to the virtual writing setup, Kripke explains the oddities, but also the progress that they have made. “It’s super weird to virtually room, but we are managing,” said Kripke. “The big challenge will be when we do shoot it. We have a production start date of mid-to-late January, but there [are] so many unknowns as we all know. And it doesn’t seem like things are getting a ton better. So, we will have to see what January brings. But we are well on our way.”
Season two of The Boys is set to premiere on September 4 for Amazon Prime Video. For fans of the show and other television fanatics, check out the second full-length trailer below: