Before the upcoming live-action TV series, starring Karl Urban and Elisabeth Shue, premieres on Amazon Prime, here are 10 things you should really know about the highly anticipated adaptation of The Boys (Dynamite Entertainment). Based on the cult comic book from writer Garth Ennis (Preacher) and artist Darick Robertson (Transmetropolitan), the twisted satirical thriller features an alternate world where costumed superheroes actually exist and are idolized by the public as celebrities. With The Boys comic pushing the boundaries of its themes and graphic violence, find out what happens when a group of super-humans start abusing their powers for ulterior motives and never have to worry about going too far with them.
Just like the TV show, The Boys explores how superheroes take advantage of their celebrity status and end up exploiting their uncanny powers. To the public eye, the superhuman team, known as The Seven, are revered for their everyday life-saving heroics. But a small CIA squad, calling themselves The Boys, knows the dark and terrible secrets behind their deadly superpowers. The members of The Seven are morally corrupt and engage in reckless, dangerous behavior with no consequence at all. The Boys will use whatever resource they have in order to stop the Seven from destroying anything good in the world.
10 Simon Pegg
Even before the TV show came into production, actor Simon Pegg had been a major staple of The Boys. Originally, Ennis had conceived of the main character, “Wee” Hughie Campbell, as someone who was tough and innocent at the same time. Having been of a huge fan of Spaced and Shaun of the Dead, Robertson could only imagine Pegg as that character.
Wanting to be in a comic book, Pegg then gave the creative team the okay to use his likeness. On the show, Pegg will be playing the father of Hughie Campbell (now portrayed by Jack Quaid).
9 Billy Butcher
Karl Urban plays the thuggish Billy Butcher, a shadowy CIA agent and leader of The Boys. For personal reasons, Butcher (Urban) has an immense hatred for the super-powered crusaders and is determined to expose all of the Seven’s wrongdoings in front of the public. The Lord of the Rings actor has been involved with three comic book adaptations so far in his professional career.
Urban has memorably brought to the screen Judge Dredd, the no-nonsense lawman from Mega-City One, and Skurge, the Asgardian Executioner in Thor: Ragnarok. Let’s hope The Boys is a success and allows Urban to play more popular characters from the comic book world.
8 The Supernatural Connection
Former Supernatural creator/showrunner Eric Kripke has been in charge of developing The Boys adaptation for viewers and has already written the pilot. After writing the pilot for Supernatural, Kripke followed the adventures of Sam (Jared Padalecki) and Dean (Jensen Ackles) Winchester across five seasons. Kripke stepped down as showrunner after the fifth season finale and now serves as executive consultant on the CW drama.
Kripke isn’t the only Supernatural alumnae to make his own show based on a comic book. Jeremy Carver was one of the writers and a producer on Supernatural before becoming the showrunner of the DC Universe series, Doom Patrol.
7 The Graphic Violence
Because The Boys is geared towards mature readers, the graphic violence is a bit more outrageous and visually gruesome. In the first issue, the story kicks off with a shocking event that rattles the main protagonist, Hughie Campbell, to the core. Due to a superhero brawl, Hughie ends up witnessing the death of his girlfriend. Just as she is about to die, her entire body combusts in an extremely gory manner and an avalanche of her blood bathes him from top to bottom.
Because the rest of her body is gone, he ends up holding his dead girlfriend’s chopped arms in his hands.
The first six issues of The Boys was once originally published by DC Comics’ imprint, Wildstorm. Due to the mature content, which focused on rape, drugs, and homophobia, Wildstorm felt the comic’s anti-superhero take went way off their brand.
Though Wildstorm thought it would be best to cancel the comic, Ennis and Robertson were given back the rights to the title and characters. The creator duo was then able to find the canceled comic a new home at Dynamite Entertainment. The creators were granted creative freedom under Dynamite Entertainment, which allowed them to continue the series until their 72nd issue.
One of the superheroes in the comic is the wholesome and innocent-looking Annie January, aka Starlight. The super-heroine is able to discharge a powerful blinding light burst from her fingertips. Because of her wholesome look, Annie is shocked when the Seven demand her to wear a more revealing and sexual costume.
Actress Erin Moriarty, who plays Starlight, has the challenging task of playing a naive character who is physically and mentally broken down by her male peers. How the show tackles sexual harassment in the workplace, especially as the #MeToo movement becomes more timely and relevant, will definitely be interesting to watch.
4 The Actual Boys
The actual Boys team was originally composed of Billy Butcher, Mallory, Mother’s Milk, Female of the Species, and Frenchie. Though he was a member of the Boys, Mallory chose not to return. Because of his involvement with the CIA team, Mallory, unfortunately, witnessed the murder of his own grandchildren.
Because there needs to be five members in Butcher’s team, “Wee” Hughie joins the group out of revenge for his girlfriend’s death. During Hughie’s first mission with The Boys, they are sent off to New York to infiltrate the young superhero group, Teenage Kix, and gather enough dirt to blackmail them.
3 There’s A Spinoff
Dynamite Entertainment continued The Boys series with the six-issue spinoff comic, Herogasm. Written by Ennis and drawn by artist John McCrea (Hitman), the raunchy-titled comic followed the sexual exploits of the Seven when they are not committing their daily heroics.
While pretending to be on a mission to save the world, the superheroes are actually far away vacationing on a resort island. The Boys discover the Vice President is involved with the so-called heroes as they partake in illegalities, such as drugs and prostitution. No word yet if Amazon Prime will adapt the Herogasm spinoff as well.
Created by Ennis and Steve Dillon, Preacher (Vertigo Comics) was adapted into an AMC drama series, starring Dominic Cooper and Ruth Negga.
Now heading into its fourth and final season, Preacher was developed for the TV screen by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Due to the success of adapting Preacher, the directors of This is the End decided to tackle another comic book by Ennis. Rogen and Goldberg originally had plans to direct the pilot of The Boys but had to drop out because of scheduling conflicts. They both still remain on board as executive producers though.
1 10 Cloverfield Lane
After Rogen and Goldberg dropped out of directing duties for the pilot, it would take filmmaker Dan Trachtenberg to fill in the void and take over for the series premiere. Trachtenberg previously made his directorial debut with the sci-fi/horror thriller, 10 Cloverfield Lane. In the second installment of the Cloverfield franchise, Michelle (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) finds herself trapped in an underground bunker with two other mysterious men.
If you are a fan of the Cloverfield sequel, then you know Trachtenberg is perfect for the ensemble drama and has an eye for special effects.
The first season of The Boys airs on Amazon Prime on July 26, 2019.
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