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‘The Boys’ Boss on Finale Deaths, Butcher’s ‘Ticking Clock,’ Homelander’s Season 4 Plans and Soldier Boy’s ‘Supernatural’ Moment

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Instant White-Hot Wild,” the Season 3 finale episode of “The Boys.”

“The Boys” ended its third season Friday with a finale that included multiple character deaths, changes in alliances and cliffhangers so huge that even Starlight would have a hard time flying down from them safely. Luckily for the Amazon Prime Video series, fans have grown accustomed to this madness and likely knew they were in for a wild ride when they tuned into the Season 3 finale.

But for the sake of underlining how much went down in the episode, here we go: Homelander (Antony Starr) kills Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell); the Deep (Chace Crawford) kills Robert Singer’s (Jim Beaver) VP pick and the slot goes to secret supe Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit); Starlight/Annie (Erin Moriarty) flies with just a little assistance from Hughie (Jack Quaid); Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) sacrifices herself to save everyone from Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles), loses her powers, is presumed dead by almost everyone and is free to go live her life with Elena (Nicola Correia-Damude); Soldier Boy is put on ice again by Grace Mallory (Laila Robins); Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) chooses Homelander over Butcher (Karl Urban); Homelander reveals Ryan and his powers to the public and kills a protestor who hurts his son, which makes the crowd love them both even more — and excites Ryan; Butcher gets a prognosis that he has 12-18 months to live because of the damage done to his body by Temp V; and Annie gives up her Starlight persona to become one of the Boys.

Variety broke down these major beats with “The Boys” showrunner Eric Kripke, who also teased where things are going in Season 4.

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So in the finale, Starlight flies. Can you confirm that now Starlight can fly, that this will be a continuous ability?

By and large, yes. She has to work on it. She has to train. At the moment, it requires ridiculous amounts of power that she has to drain from everything. She has to figure out how not to cause blackouts around her. But she can fly in the comics, so we were always interested in heading in that direction. As she embraces her own power emotionally, she gets more powerful physically.

Ryan sees the excited reaction from the QAnon-like crowd to Homelander killing the man who hurt him, and Ryan’s pretty excited himself by the crowd’s reaction. Where does this set us up for Season 4? Because I don’t feel comfortable about anyone’s behavior in that, but I’m really worried about little Ryan’s reaction.

It’s not great. It’s just a notion taken to the extreme that the more horrible public leaders act, the more fans they seem to rack up. And there’s always that expression that Trump can shoot a guy on Fifth Avenue and wouldn’t lose any fans. And so we said, “Let’s do that. Let’s have Homelander kill a guy on Fifth Avenue and see what the reaction is.” And it’s just true. It’s like that campaign video of the guy actively saying he’s going to hunt down people with his semi-automatic and kicking open private residences to hunt them down — and people cheer for that now. So for us, it was just sadly, not that far off from what would actually happen.

And then Ryan. Ryan is a really important piece of the story because he’s half Becca, half Homelander. If Butcher can figure out how to get his shit together and get the kid back, that could be the single best weapon they have against Homelander. But vice versa. If Homelander wins the kid over, that’s apocalyptic because then there’s two Homelanders. It’s like a child drama with apocalyptic stakes. It’s like “Kramer vs. Kramer” meets “Avengers: Endgame.” So that will be a really rich story moving forward.

On the other side of the “Kramer vs. Kramer,” Butcher is dead in 12 to 18 months! You’ve only given Butcher that much time to be alive to try and fix this. How much of that is he actually going to put toward Ryan, given that he now has to handle that plus Neuman being the front-runner for the next vice president? 

Yeah, it’s probably going to be a slam dunk. They’re up against the DeSantis ticket. That’s part of the fun of getting into Season 4, which we’re just figuring out for this, but he’s got a crazy ticking clock. He’s got so much to do that he hasn’t done. And everything that he’s tried to do up to this point has exploded in the most horrible way. What we find fascinating about the question we’re asking about Butcher is, is he self-aware enough to realize that he’s causing his own misfortune? Is he self-aware enough to actually see if he can change? Those are some of the interesting conversations we’re starting to have for Season 4.

Queen Maeve sacrifices herself to protect everyone from Soldier Boy, and she ends up surviving but losing her powers, though the world presumes her dead and Vought is supporting that narrative. Does this mean actor Dominique McElligott is actually leaving the show? What was behind the choice for Maeve’s exit?

I don’t think “The Boys” will end without Maeve showing up again… We needed a way to sort of gracefully get Maeve out of the show, let her head for the exit. Obviously, we didn’t want to kill her and fall into the tropes of gay characters and bisexual characters in shows getting killed. We wanted to do the opposite of that and send her off and give her a happy ending with Elena. The best way to do that was, well, take away her powers and she’s not useful in the fight anymore. And we did that because Annie can’t really grow into her own until all the characters that are around to protect her are gone. It was important for her next step for her mentor characters and her protector characters to go away. And so it’s only up to Annie. There’s no one left but Annie. So what is she going to do?

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Black Noir is dead. But the public doesn’t know Black Noir is dead. So going into Season 4, the only members of the Seven are Homelander, the Deep and A-Train?

It’s been a running joke for us from the beginning that there’s almost never seven members of the Seven. After Episode 2 of Season 1, when Translucent explodes, that’s sort of it for the longest time, because then the Deep leaves and Stormfront comes in, but there’s never seven of them. So they have to really reinforce their ranks, I think that’s going to be one of the exciting new introductions in the next season. New members have to come in, members that are sympathetic to Homelander’s batshit crazy cause. So he has to really stack the deck with allies now that he has the ability to make those decisions.

I’m assuming because they haven’t revealed Black Noir’s death to the public in the very “Brave Maeve” way they showed Maeve’s assume death, they’re trying to keep that quiet for right now. Do they not have a plan for explaining what happened to Black Noir?

Without spoiling anything, I will just say this: When you have a silent character in a mask, he’s reasonably easy to recast… If you notice in the flashbacks of this season, it was a different actor [Fritzy-Klevans Destine] and perhaps the reason we did that is so that if we were to recast Noir, we could recast him with Nathan [Mitchell, who has played Black Noir under the mask since Season 1].

One question that we haven’t talked about in a while: Where is Cindy, the telekinetic supe from the Sage Grove asylum in Season 2?

Cindy is out there. I just corresponded with Ess [Hödlmoser], who is the actor who plays Cindy. And Ess is a little busy, actually. So we’re figuring it out. But Cindy will return, there’s no way Cindy doesn’t return. Cindy is too cool not to return.

So Season 4: You’re writing it. How far in are you? Because Karl Urban previously said that he’s prepared for production by the end of the year.

That’s right. That’s not a secret. We start shooting in late August. I’m starting to look at some early drafts of the first couple. We’re still early, I think right now we’re in the middle of breaking Episode 3 and I’m reading a draft of Episode 1. And even in that stage, it’s early with some heavy rewriting and we’re still in there figuring it all out. But it’s super interesting and fun and really, really emotionally rich. Probably as emotionally complicated as we’ve ever done. So far, that’s been my big takeaway. Everyone is really facing their core issues in a way that’s pretty exciting, a very character-driven season.

Why didn’t you have a scene between Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy and Jim Beaver’s character, presidential candidate Robert Singer, just so the “Supernatural” fans could have the reunion? And what was your favorite “Supernatural” Easter eggs of the ones that you did include?

I thought about trying to get Soldier Boy and Singer together, but they were just in separate stories. I mean, they’re technically in the same scene, in that Singer is up on a stage and and Homelander has that vision of Soldier Boy. But there’s no interaction. I specifically went back into Episode 5 and I wrote that moment of Soldier Boy reacting to the Singer poster for this reason. I was like, they’re going to kill me if I don’t have some acknowledgment that they’re both in this universe together. So I put that in.

I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but the one that pops into my head of a “Supernatural” reference I think people enjoy is, 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.