In April 2016, it was announced that Eric Kripke, along with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, were developing a TV series based on the comic book The Boys. The comic series was written by Garth Ennis and co-created, designed, and illustrated by Darick Robertson between 2006 and 2012. The comics are based in a world where superheroes exist as the tools of a corporation called Vought International. The top echelon of heroes are know as "The Seven" with some key characters broadly parodying DC/Marvel characters: Homelander is a pastiche of Superman and Captain America, Queen Maeve is Wonder Woman, A-Train is the Flash and the Deep is Aquaman. Soldier Boy, the character that Jensen will play, references Captain America. Also in this world are a group known as "The Boys", led by Billy Butcher, who seek to bring Vought down. There had been numerous development attempts at the comics over the years including as as a movie at Columbia Pictures and Paramount.
Seasons One and Two
In November 2017, Amazon ordered the first, eight episode, season of The Boys. Ahead of the series premiere, on July 19, 2019, Amazon Video renewed the series for a second season which premiered on September 4, 2020. Unlike the first season, where the whole season was dropped at once, Eric Kripke insisted that the second season drop one episode a week. Kripke said of the problem with the full season drop “People burn through it in a week or two. There’s an intense amount of activity and then it sort of fades…. There’s so many great moments in season 2, we want to give it time to marinate so people can reflect on it and talk about it before they move on to the next thing and be in the conversation a little longer. I think a little anticipation for the fans is healthy.”
Season one was both hugely popular and well-received by the critics. Viewers loved the sardonic humour along with the high levels of violence, gore and sex which provided a contrast to the more anodyne MCU and DEC movies. The second series was even more successful, and it became the first non-Netflix show to rate in the Nielsen Top 10 streaming shows.
Season Two became the first comic book adaptation to score an Emmy nomination for Best Drama ever!
Jensen's casting as Soldier Boy
On the 17th August, Jensen announced via his Instagram that he will be joining Season 3 of Eric Kripke's series The Boys as the character Soldier Boy.
- “When I was a child, I had a crazy, impossible dream — to provide Jensen Ackles with gainful employment. I’m happy to say that dream has come true. Jensen is an amazing actor, an even better person, smells like warm chocolate chip cookies, and I consider him a brother. As Soldier Boy, the very first superhero, he’ll bring so much humor, pathos, and danger to the role. I can’t wait to be on set with him again, and bring a bit of ‘Supernatural’ to ‘The Boys.’”
Danneel and the kids sent their best wishes via a cute video. Jared commented with:
- "Couldn’t be happier for my brother from another mother!! Thrilled you’re gonna keep kicking ass and takin names. They’re lucky to have ya."
And on Twitter added:
- "We’ve been “The Boys” for fifteen years, so it’s nice to see the tradition live on. Congrats on your superpowers brother, you deserve it!"
From late 2020, Jensen took at least six trips to Los Angeles for fittings, as the costume for Soldier Boy was constructed. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Jensen mentioned that, coincidentally, he would be wearing the same boots as Soldier Boy that Dean Winchester wore although a different color. The costume was from a concept by Greg Hopwood and designed and made by Laura Jean Shannon who said of the costume:
- "Soldier Boy is the original bad ass. Our goal was to highlight a bygone era of overt masculinity and grit. With that pedigree we dove headfirst into baking in an all-American quality grounded in a military soldier’s practicality with a heavy dose of old school cowboy swagger. We knew that the actor had to have Steve McQueen looks and chops with a John Wayne attitude, luckily Jensen Ackles embodies all of that."
Jensen also impressively grew out his beard between the end of filming Supernatural in September 2020 and the start of The Boys production in May 2021, and will sport it in the early appearances of Soldier Boy. Due to COVID restrictions, Jensen was required to quarantine in Toronto for 14 days before being able to start filming. He is expected to be in Canada filming the series until August, and will not be able to travel home to Austin during that time.
- “It’s been awesome. I mean, I love the guy so much. And just to have him read my words again is such a treat. I mean, on the first day of dailies, I reached out to him. Funny enough, his very first scene as Soldier Boy was taking place in a shitty motel room. And so he’s in this shitty motel room reading my words. And I just was like, ‘This is great. This feels like coming home.’ It’s been awesome. The cast loved him. They saw immediately what a good dude and what a really fine actor he is. And really all of our conversations have been about how to make sure that this is not Dean Winchester. How do we give him a look that feels a little different and register of voice and mannerisms? I think he and I are both really interested in creating a different character. So it’s been a blast. I mean, he’s such a good actor. The metaphor I use is he just has a lot of Crayons in his Crayon box and you can really use all of them to do something, I think, really nuanced.”
- "I just saw dailies with @JensenAckles that are SO FUCKING WEIRD & FUNNY & a scene I've always wanted to do! I wiped a tear laughing. So happy to be working with him again. Wait till you meet Soldier Boy"
Who is Soldier Boy?
Soldier Boy (real name Ben) was Vought's first superhero, who would go on to lead a team known as "PayBack". He rises to fame fighting NAZIs in World War 2 - or so Vought would have you believe. An all-round asshole, he was sold out to the Russians by his own team, during an operation in Nicaragua in the 1980s. The Russians then spent years experimenting on him, trying to find out what could kill him. Eventually he is put into a cryogenic stasis. In 2022, the Boys arrive looking for a weapon reputed to be able to kill Homelander, and release him.
Soldier Boy is virtually indestructible, and has super-human strength. Following the experiments, by the Russians he can generate destructive blasts of radiation. Due to the trauma suffered during that time, when Soldier Boy experiences intense emotions, he can lose control of his powers.
He was the first Supe celebrity, appearing in movies and even releasing at least one album.
As filming started on Season 3 of The Boys in February 2021, it was announced that a number of Supernatural alumni are joining the series. In addition to Jensen, they include writer Meredith Glynn who is fresh off Supernatural, and David Reed who left Supernatural in 2012 and has since worked on Revolution, Aquarius and The Magicians. They will both join the series as who joins as executive producers. Jim Michaels who was a co-executive producer based in Vancouver for Supernatural took on the same role, but left the show partially through the season. Already on-board alongside Eric Kripke are executive producer and director Phil Sgriccia who left Supernatural at the end of Season 14, and composer Christopher Lennertz.
Kripke posted a reaction shot from a production meeting for the "Herogasm" episode. In the comics, "Herogasm" is an annual Vought-sponsored bacchanalian weekend of sex, drugs and anything goes.
- Amazon released that for the first three days of its third season, "the worldwide audience for ‘The Boys’ has grown by 17% from Season 2, and 234% from Season 1” during the same comparable post-launch period across all three seasons."
|3.01 Payback||Phil Sgriccia||Craig Rosenberg||June 3, 2022||Hughies is working with Victoria Neuman's Bureau of Superhero Affairs, sending The Boys, sans Mother's Milk, out to bring in Supes who are causing problems. Maeve visits Butcher and urges him to investigate Payback the original Superhero team, in particular their leader Soldier Boy who she thinks was killed by a weapon called B.C.L. RED, She also gives him some vials of V24, which imbues the user with powers for 24 hours. Hughie discovers that Victoria is secretly a Supe.|
|3.02 The Only man in the Sky||Phil Sgriccia||David Reed||June 3, 2022||Highie discovers that Victoria was taken from Supe children's home and raised by Stan Edgar. Butcher confronts Gunpowder, Soldier Boy's sidekick, but is shot by him. After taking the temporary V, Butcher returns and find out that Soldier Boy died in Nicaragua while on a mission for the CIA led by Mallory. He then kills Gunpowder using his powers. An unfiltered rant by Homelander proves a hit with the public. Mother's Milk whose parents were killed by Soldier Boy, returns to The Boys.|
|3.03 Barbary Coast||Julian Holmes||Anslem Richardson & Geoff Aull||June 3, 2022||Mallory tells The Boys how she was part of the CIA operation in Nicaragua where the US was backing right wing militia against the leftist government, and funding their efforts by selling cocaine in black neighborhoods in the US. When Payback turns up, they give away their position to Nicaraguan and Russian forces. Black Noir is injured and Soldier Boy is apparently killed by a Russian superweapon.|
|3.04 Glorious Five Year Plan||Julian Holmes||Meredith Glynn||June 10, 2022||Through Frenchies old boss Little Nina, The Boys travel to Russia. Meanwhile Stan Edgar asks Victoria to help pull Homelander into line, but she double crosses him, and Edgar is removed as head of Vought. Her payment is a dose of V which she injects into her daughter so she can better protect herself. Homelander learns of the alliance of Starlight, The Deep, A Train and Supersonic against him. AS a warning Homelander kills Supersonic, Starlight's childhood boyfriend, and announces to the world that he and Starlight are dating. In Russia, Hughies gets Butcher to give him some V24, and the team break into the lab where they believe the B.C.L. RED weapon is stored. Instead they accidentally release Soldier Boy from his cryogenic storage. After unleashing his power on them, Soldier Boy leaves.|
|3.05 The Last Time to Look At This World Of Lies||Nelson Cragg||Ellie Monahan||June 17, 2021||After The Boys flee back to the US, Kimiko, seriously injured by Soldier Boy, is in hospital. She's also lost her powers, and is happy about as she and Frenchie watch movies together. However Nina's henchmen turn up and kidnap Frenchie. Maeve turns up with more temp V for Butcher and they drink together before having sex. She is later taken prisoner by Homelander and Black Noir. A-Train takes the racist Blue Hawk along to a meeting of the African American community he has been terrorizing, and he gives a fake apology, before losing his temper and injuring a number of people including A-Train's brother. An old Vought exec known only as The Legend tells MM, Hughie, and Butcher that Soldier Boy will be after his old lover Crimson Countess. The Boys make it there first and restrain her. Soldier Boy arrives and kills her for giving him up to the Russians. Hughie and Butcher make a deal with Soldier Boy to help him hunt down the members of Payback if he will kill Homelander.|
|3.06 Herogasm||Nelson Cragg||Jessica Chou||June 24, 2021||Nina kidnaps Kimko and Frenchies former partner Cherie, but Komiko escapes and manages to free Frenchie. Neumann reveals her Supe powers to Annie and proposes they collaborate but Annie refuses. At the home of Payback members the TNT Twins it is time for the annual supe sex fest known as Herogasm. Annie and MM arrive, and later Hughie, Butcher and Soldier Boy. Soldier Boy releases a burst of power that kills many, and then he joins Butcher in fighting Homelander. Hughies teleports Annie to safety, and she confronts him about giving into the power trip of V. A-train kills Blue HAwk, and collapses with a heart attack. Annie does a livestream condemning Homelander and Vought.|
|3.07 Here Comes A Candle To Light You To Bed||Sarah Boyd||Paul Grellong||July 1, 2022||In flashbacks, we see that Noir was bullied by Soldier Boy, which led to him turning him over to the Russians. Butcher, Hughie, and Soldier Boy head to find Payback member Mindstorm. He gets into Butcher's mind, trapping him with the memories of his abusive father. We see how this caused him to leave, abandoning his young brother which eventually led to his suicide. Hughie convinces Mindstorm to free Butcher, promising to teleport him anywhere. Mindstorm awakens Butcher but is then killed by Soldier Boy, but not before he shares a secret with him. On a mission to get Compound V for Kimiko who wants her powers back, Annie discovers that temp V is fatal after a few doses. She tells Butcher of the drugs risks and begs him to tell Hughie, but he doesn't. Soldier Boy calls Homelander and tells him that he is Homelander's biological father.|
|3.08 The Instant White Hot Wild||Sarah Boyd||Logan Ritchey & David Reed||July 8, 2022||Homelander finds Ryan, and convinces the boy he truly loves him. On the way to kill Homelander, Butcher knocks Hughies out to keep him from taking more V. Due to all of Annie's supporters outside Vought Tower, Ashley decides they should move Maeve, but while on route she manages to escape and heads to the Boys office. Butcher and Soldier Boy arrive and lock Annie, Hughie, MAeve adn MM in an old walk-in safe. Meanwhile at Vought, Homelander kills Noir for keeping the secret of his parentage from him. When Butcher and Soldier Boy arrives, Homelander tries to convince Soldier Boy to join him - they are family he argues, and introduces him to his grandson Ryan. When Soldier Boy attacks both Homelander and Ryan, Butcher, and the others who have arrived turn on Soldier Boy. Eventually as he is about to release a burst of energy, Maeve tackles him out of a window, apparently killing them both. Later it is revealed Maeve has survived, albeit without her powers, and leaves with her girlfriend. Soldier Boy is also alive and is seen being but into cryogenesis again by the CIA. At a Homelander rally, the Supe arrives with Ryan, and when he kills a protester the crowd is thrilled, and young Ryan smiles. Meanwhile, after having the Deep murder the man who was running for Vice President, Neumann joins Robert Singer as his running mate.|
- SPN Alunmi -
- Writers/Producers: Eric Kripke, Phil Sgriccia, David Reed, and Meredith Glyn. Music on Supernatural and The Boys by Christopher Lennertz,
- Actors: Jensen ! Christian Keyes who plays A-Trains brother Nathan, played Michael (Apocalypse World) and Gattlin Griffith played Jesse Turner the Antichrist in 5.06 I Believe The Children Are Our Future and also the young Gunpower - Soldier Boy's sidekick - in Payback.
- "The Last Time To Look On This World Of Lies": A video recording of Soldier Boy being tortured was dated January 24 - Dean Winchester's and Jessica Moore's birthday.
- "Glorious Five Year Plan": When Soldier Boy unleashes a burst of energy, Kimiko is flung back and impaled on a piece of rebar - the same thing which took Dean Winchester's life in 15.20 Carry On.
- Kripke on the "trunk shots" which fans recognised from Supernatural: "We tend to do a lot of the through-the-trunk shots. We’ve done a few of them, because it’s me and Phil Sgriccia. So to have Jensen in Episode 7 and do one of the trunk shots with Jensen, that’s something that we very specifically asked for because we felt like that would be a fun callback for fans."
- Kripke also expressed his sadness that he didn't managed to get Robert Singer (played by Jim Beaver) and Jensen in a scene together. Jim played Bobby Singer in Supernatural. There was a shot in "Glorious Five Year Plan" of Soldier Boy seeing a "Robert Singer. A Stronger America" posted.
- "Here Comes A Candle To Light You To Bed": When Soldier Boy is wanking before fucking the two maids, the song "Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon plays. This song was played in 2.05 Simon Said by Jo at the Roadhouse and Dean scoffs at it but later sings it in the Impala.
- " The Instant White Hot Wild": When Robert Singer announces Neumann as his running mate he is in Sioux Falls, which is where his namesake Bobby Singer lived.
Season 3 Soldier Boy trivia and extras
- In addition to Jensen and obviously Eric Kripke, other Supernatural alumni working on the Show include Director and EP Phil Sgriccia, writer and EP Meredith Glynn, writer and EP David Reed and composer Christopher Lennertz.
- "Outakes" from a Vought Soldier Boy promo
- Soldier Boy PSA on drugs
- Soldier Boy on Solid Gold. Jensen's performance of Rapture by Blondie, is done in the style of William Shatner who famously did a cover of Common People by Pulp. The Blondie official Twitter account responded gleefully to the clip!.
- Soldier Boy sings "From A Logical Point Of View. In this tweet Kripke explains the Robert Mitchum inspiration for the video.
- Kripke on Soldier Boy's music videos
- Soldier Boy warns if you don't watch The Boys he will come to your house. Fandom fails to see the threat.
- Kripke says he can't imagine finishing the series without a retun from Soldier Boy
- Jensen talks about his naked introduction with EW
- Video of the cast of The Boys at the end of filming Season 3 including Drunk Jensen! (aka Nesnej)
- Kripke tweeted : "I just saw dailies with @JensenAckles that are SO FUCKING WEIRD & FUNNY & a scene I've always wanted to do! I wiped a tear laughing. So happy to be working with him again. Wait till you meet Soldier Boy"
- Why the superhero genre is the perfect vehicle for a satire for our perilous times. An interview with Kripke by The Hollywood Reporter
- There is now an official podcast for The Boys with interview with the cast, writers and producers.
- Interviews with Kripke and the cast about Season 3 by Den of Geek
- The Boys had a panel at SXSW in Austin featuring Jensen and Karl Urban, Laz Alonso, Karen Fukuhara, Jessie T. Usher, Chace Crawford, and executive producer Eric Kripke.
- Jensen talks about the Soldier Boy and Homelander twist with Variety
- Jensen, Tony and Kripke about the Soldier Boy and Homelander plot with EW
- Jensen on The Late Show with Seth Meyers
- Jensen on GMA talking about The Boys
- Jensen on LIVE with Kelly and Ryan
- Jensen talks about how Soldier Boy addresses the cost of toxic masculinity by CBR
- Supernatural Fans Offer The Boys Fans Herogasm Warning; Kripke Agrees aka SuperWiki gets quoted in Bleeding Cool!
- The Cast talks about Herogasm fight
- The Boys promotional tour in Paris
- The Boys promotional tour in Brasil
- The Boys red carpet in Brasil
- The Boys soundtrack album released including Jensen's songs. For more of Jensen's musical stylings see Jensen and music
- "Diabolical" is an eight episode animated series set in The Boys universe, with episodes written by Awkwafina, Garth Ennis, Eliot and Ilana Glazer, Simon Racioppa, Justin Roiland and Ben Bayouth, Andy Samberg, Aisha Tyler, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. It is now screening on Prime.
- On June 10 2022, Amazon announced that The Boys had been renewed for a fourth season.
- Rob Benedict cast in a recurring role in Season 4 by Nerds and Beyond
- How The Boys delivers TV excellence by The Nerdist
Gen V is a spin-off from The Boys, which takes place at a college for your superheroes. It premiered on 29 September 2023 and was renewed for a second season on 19 October 2023.
In Season 1 Episode 6 "Jumanji", friends of the super-powered Cate get pulled into her mind. Soldier Boy manifests from her subconscious, revealing that he was a masturbatory fantasy for Cate when she was a teenager. Or as he puts it he taught her how to "Diddle the skittle. Flick the bean. How to find that man in the canoe." In this episode that we discover how terribly Cate's parents treated her after her powers manifested and made her younger brother disappear, so having an arsehole like Soldier Boy as her fantasy further reinforces how damaged she was.
- Watch Jensen talk about filming the part although Kripke later revealed his appearance was meant to be kept secret.
- Gen V team explains the significance of Jensen Ackles' Soldier Boy cameo in Entertainment Weekly