The Boys Season 3: 10 Ways In Which The Show Departs From The Comics
Did the show do better? We actually think so!
With Emmy nominations on the table, massive critical success, and a huge dedicated fanbase, The Boys’ third season, due to release on Amazon Prime Video come June 3, brings an insane, dark twist to the world of superheroes we’ve all grown up with.
Here’s a look at the upcoming season’s no-holds-barred red band teaser trailer:
It’s interesting to see a show get so hyped up long after the release of its source material – The Boys comic series. Across 72 issues of the most subversive superhero stories ever told, creator Garth Ennis wove a satirical tale of celebrity godhood gone wrong, the corruptive effects of power, and plenty other insightful takes on the superhero genre, modern society, and good-old ultraviolence.
While Ennis is fairly involved in consulting the show’s production and writing teams, there’s no two ways about it – the show wildly differs from the comics, often taking crazy-different plotlines, killing off or keeping alive different characters, and playing around with the personalities, looks, and even genders of various fan-favourites.
What’s exciting is that many of these changes were welcomed by fans – who saw great potential in the new storytelling avenues explored by showrunner Eric Kripke. So let’s dive in, and explore the fascinating differences between The Boys – from on-page to on-screen.
1. Hughie Campbell
In the TV show, Hughie (Jack Quaid) is a pretty mild-mannered, tall American who finds himself thrust into the world of The Boys after his girlfriend gets killed by speedster A-Train.
In the comics, he’s the splitting image of Simon Pegg – often called ‘Wee Hughie’, Ennis actually based the character’s looks off the actor – going for a timid, diminutive Irish everyman.
The comics also give Hughie and his mates superpowers – in them, his first kill is a member of the Teenage Kix superhero team, Blarney Cock, who gets punched through the chest. In Season 1 of the show, Hughie’s first hit is one of The Seven, Translucent, carried out via crewmate Frenchie’s bombs.
2. Billy Butcher
Interestingly, Billy Butcher is played largely the same – a personal request from Ennis himself, that the showrunners seem to have respected – as Karl Urban though, he does sport a much gruffer look than his comic book counterpart.
Rather, the biggest difference with Billy in the show comes in the form of his main motivation to kill the ‘Supers’ – his wife, Rebecca. In the comics, she’s brutally raped by a certain Super, and dies horrifically in childbirth. In the show, she’s presumed dead but revealed to be alive – with Homelander’s biological son Ryan becoming a massive plot-point in Season 2.
3. The Female
The Female simply shows up in the comics as part of The Boys, having accidentally eaten the superpower-inducing Compound V as a baby. Not much of an origin story there!
In the series, she has way more character development – as well as a name. ‘Kimiko’ was a child soldier who was injected with Compound V by her guerrilla comrades as a result of Vought’s plans to support terrorist outfits and create supervillans, as a means of establishing their global importance.
4. Madelyn Stillwell
One of many key figures that have been gender-swapped for the series is Madelyn Stillwell, called James Stillwell in the comics. The comic book persona is absolutely ruthless – a perfect example of corporate authority and greed who ordered the assassination of his own heroes for not meeting his standards.
Madelyn, meanwhile, is a lot more interesting and even sympathetic. She uses a powerful combination of sexual and motherly charm to keep a tight leash on the oedipal Homelander, who ends up murdering her out of a jealous rage directed at Madelyn’s baby.
5. Victoria Neuman
The comic book’s ‘Vic’ Newman is a thickheaded political-corporate puppet – something of a throwaway character that Vought manipulates into getting their work done within the U.S. Government, before being slaughtered later by Homelander.
The show absolutely revamps the character into what looks like one of Season 3’s biggest villains – now Victoria Neuman, she operates as a superpowered, intelligent Vought mole, finessing her way into the top echelons of the government.
Another fantastic example of using the comic’s source material in fresh new ways, the original Stormfront was the world’s first superhuman – a Nazi creation shipped off to the U.S., who eventually was taken down by The Boys.
In the series, Stormfront is female, and we get to see far more of her character arc – peppered with some great commentary on American-brand racism and prejudice. She meets her grisly end at the Season 2 finale – killed by Homelander’s son Ryan, finally breaking loose Homelander’s barely contained insanity, which brings us to…
Used as a lab rat and PR machine right from birth isn’t a great way to create a superhero. In Homelander’s case, it turns the blond-haired blue-eyed wonderkid into a remorseless psychopath drunk on power.
The comics definitely showcase an incredible, original version of the character – even if he’s a bit childish and easily manipulated, if murderous. The show however, often touts Anthony Starr’s brilliant performance as one of it’s greatest highlights – showing us the descent of a complex, violent, sadistic superhero who by Season 3, has almost nothing to lose.
8. Black Noir
In the comics, Black Noir’s identity is a huge mystery – it’s eventually revealed that he’s a Homelander clone, and behind many of the comic series’ most heinous and depraved acts.
The show, so far, has been pretty obscure about Noir’s identity. We catch a glimpse of his face – enough to understand he’s heavily scarred and black – so certainly not a Homelander copy. As he features in a couple of gag clips in the Season 3 trailer, we can’t help but wonder if the new episodes will shed some light on his origins and intentions.
9. New Heroes
The original comic book run has quite a few heroes – most of the big names making an appearance in the show. However, the series creators went wild with their imaginations – coming up with even more wild interpretations of Compound V’s effects.
For starters, there’s Ezekiel – a shady but less horrendous version of televangelist ‘Oh Father’, while Translucent adds invisibility to the mix of ‘Jack from Jupiter’s powers.
Our personal favorite is Mesmer. Played by Haley Joel Osment, this psychic has-been pays homage to 80’s British detective shows in one of the series’ coolest cultural references.
10. TransOcenaic Flight 37
After tasked with saving the hijacked Flight 37, Homelander not only ignores the poor civilians but uses their deaths to taunt and belittle his ex, Queen Maeve. Pretty rough stuff – but it’s even murkier in the comics.
In the issues, Homelander and The Seven are supposed to save New York during the September 11 attacks. While they kill the terrorists, they botch everything else up – sending the aircraft crashing into the Brooklyn Bridge, while Vought used their funds to cover things up.
With so many What If scenarios played out already, we can’t wait to see what The Boys S3 has in store. Take a look at all-new characters, a deadly inter-Super war, and massive political scandals unfold, during the Season premiere on 3rd June – only on Amazon Prime Video.
(Featured Image Credits: Amazon Studios, Dynamite Entertainment)