Before we start talking about The Boys‘ presence at San Diego Comic Con this year, let’s all rejoice that the series has already been renewed for season two! And if that’s not enough, it’s ALREADY AVAILABLE FOR STREAMING! Yes, right now! A day early! Once you finish this article, head right over to Amazon and start watching all eight episodes immediately.
Amazon brought The Boys to San Diego Comic Con with a panel, an offsite activation, complete with a secret comic book shop, and a screening party (because no SDCC is complete without a party)!
The offsite activation was a lively affair that had a lot of yelling, some sleuthing, and even a shocking surprise or two. Those lucky enough to survive a close call with supes could have even walked away with a “F**K SUPES” pin. Here’s a taste of the pep-talk we got while going through the activation:
But the activation wasn’t the only promotion that Amazon was doing for The Boys. There were multiple shows throughout the day on the giant tower in the middle of Amazon’s space. It consisted mostly of people training to take on superheroes by beating each other up, but it was still a feat to see.
There was also a secret comic book shop behind the activation where you could play darts to win prizes like posters, signed comics, trade paperbacks, and more! And if all that wasn’t enough to keep you at the Amazon offsite for most of the convention, there was also a party for The Boys! Complete with snacks and drinks, eager fans got to screen the first two episodes early.
We attended the press conference for The Boys and learned some things about the show ahead of its premiere. First of all, showrunner Eric Kripke had plenty of praise for Amazon, explaining that the “streaming format really allows you to open up the world and explore the characters and get as outrageous as the show wants and needs to be.” With Amazon, Kripke was able to utilize resources and a budget that makes The Boys feel like it could and should be shown next to the superhero movies in theatres.
In talking about their characters, Erin Moriarty revealed that superhero Starlight, the newest member of The Seven, “doesn’t know the world she’s getting herself into.”
Karen Fukuhara discussed the differences between Katana, one of her previous characters, and The Female by saying, “I think the main thing is that I’m not waving a sword. But I had a conversation with Eric [Kripke] at the beginning of shooting last year and he wanted something more animalistic. Something that’s not refined, whereas Katana was more martial arts and very deliberate action. I love playing The Female because you just never know what’s going to come because she fights in a way that’s out of the ordinary.”
Fukuhara went on to describe how The Female challenged her moral compass and how she’s different from her comic book counterpart. “I think for me, it was the violence. But the thing is, it all comes down to survival, and we’re all doing the things we do and murdering people and all of that for a reason. And for my character, it’s usually about survival. What’s different about the comic book version and our version is that a female isn’t just killing because it’s a physical need, or a want or desire to kill, it’s because she needs to stay alive. So I think that’s how I justified playing such a violent character.”
Laz Alonso also spoke about how his character, Mother’s Milk, clashed with his morals by explaining, “Mother’s Milk is pretty much the moral compass of The Boys. I tend to agree a lot with his logic and his way of thinking, but even still – their normal is so ridiculous that even as morally upright as he tries to be, they still have to justify all kinds of really fucked up shit.”
Eric Kripke talked about the challenges to adapting the comic book for television by explaining, “The comic is incredibly shocking, super outrageous and we wanted to capture that subversive spirit kind of anarchy, but by the same respect we didn’t want to be shocking for shocking’s sake, or exploitive.”
He went on to say, “You know, I don’t think that really works in a TV show. I think we need to feel you’re in the hands of competent storytellers. So the overall goal and writers for this has been we’re all for something shocking or subversive or crazy, but it has to be really important to the story, or be really important to advance the character. And if it is, if we can’t tell the story without it, then we’ll do it. If it’s just in there just to be crazy, in general, we kill that pitch.”
“So you know, because overall, what we’re really trying to do is, ‘What is the most brutally realistic version of superheroes in the real world?’ And with superheroes as insecure, and fucked up, and self-serving, and selfish, as real humans really would be if you gave them superpowers, they would all be super Bill Cosby. Too soon?” There was audible laughter and groaning from the press at this point, but Kripke continued on to drive home the point that he really wanted The Boys to be grounded.
“So those people sometimes behave in really awful ways that we want to be unflinching about. But by the same respect, it’s not meant to just to be shocking. It’s meant to tell a real story about real characters.”
Of course, Karl Urban explained some of the scenes he filmed in the pilot episode as standing “in the middle of the room, swinging nothing and taking hits from nothing, you know, pretty funky.”
In talking about the adaptation from comic to show, one of the most important scenes that the showrunners and comic artist Darick Robertson agreed needed to be adapted was the scene where A-Train runs through Hughie’s girlfriend, Robin. According to Eric Kripke, that sets the tone of what The Boys is about.
Jack Quaid agrees that the scene, “sets my character on this entire journey. So it was one of the most challenging, but one of the coolest and most surreal days I’ve ever had on this set.”
And Jessie Usher, who plays A-Train, a member of The Seven, explained the scene as, “We got a great adaptation of it, you know, it was very, as real and grounded as it could be. It wasn’t just crazy, for crazy sake, you know, it felt there was a lot of other elements involved in that scene.”
Quaid also had nothing but good things to say about working with Simon Pegg, whom Hughie was originally based on. “I realized, okay, that guy looks familiar. And, you know, it’s not necessarily like, he’s played the role, but I did feel like I was stepping into some pretty big shoes. But just the fact that I got to work with him as my dad that was a dream come true. Because he is the greatest.”
Karl Urban also had glowing praise for everyone working on The Boys, and told the press, “I’ve just had such a fantastic time working on the show and this incredibly talented cast I’ve been working with in the world of The Boys. I guess really what appealed to me about this show was these blue-collar young men and women who decided to take on the man, the top one, the most super powerful. And I was very intrigued as to how you sustain that conflict when you have people of supreme power. How do you take those down? And for me, personally, I just think it just seems like every time I turn on the television these days I get to see that reflected in current events. So I think our show is quite timely.”
Eric Kripke went on to stress some of the themes of the show: “What I love is the heroes of the show are the people that can express vulnerability and weakness and be imperfect, and the villains of the show, are the sort of slick people who stand in front of the world and refuse to admit any sort of weakness and somehow think that demonstrating competitive strength at all times is somehow good when when it is indeed… total bullshit. And so the people who appear to be strong in the show are actually quite weak, and the people who are making the show, we’re actually quite strong, because we all need each other to be.”