It’s been a long journey to get The Boys to the screen.
The Boys is a tale of misfit vigilantes who take down superheroes. Because all superheroes in this world are assholes and pretty much evil degenerates.
Wildstorm started publishing The Boys in 2006. It lasted 6 issues until it was suddenly cancelled. Wildstorm was a DC imprint at the time, and DC was wary of the anti-superhero message The Boys portrayed. As Ennis said in an interview with The Beat in 2007:
I think if I were to sum it up in one line, it would be that you can have comics where people do awful things to each other, like Preacher, but you can’t have a comic where super people do awful things to each other, like The Boys, and I think that rather than any specific instances—panels or pages or lines in the story—that was really the problem in a nutshell. When you have comics that—even superficially—look a bit too much like the company’s regular output, and the characters in them are doing the most ghastly things and behaving in the most awful way, and blaspheming and swearing and so on, that creates a real problem. That just will not fly. And that, more than anything else, was what brought an end to The Boys time at DC. If I could just guess at a couple of things, there’s an orgy sequence in issue 4, there’s a sequence in issue 3 where a girl has to effectively blow her way onto a superteam. Things like that did the real damage long before any hamsters appeared. (see issue 6)
After that, they decided to move The Boys to Dynamite Press. Darick Robertson had said that DC was pretty good about reverting the rights back to him and Ennis, and Robertson was given special dispensation from his exclusive DC contract to continue The Boys. The series ran for 72 issues, ending in 2008.
For the next eight years, a feature film of The Boys struggled through different stages of development at Columbia Pictures and Paramount Pictures.
In 2016 Cinemax began developing a show with the team of Eric Kripke, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, most likely due to the buzz of their Preacher television series for AMC. Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson were on board as executive producers. 7 months later Amazon Video announced they had given an 8 episode series order,with the same creative team attached. Talks with Amazon were taking place for several months prior to the announcement.
Scheduled to begin production this spring, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen were originally set to direct the pilot but stepped down due to scheduling conflicts. On April 30th, Dan Trachtenberg (short film Portal: No Escape, 10 Cloverfield Lane, Black Mirror) was announced as director. The series is set for a 2019 release.
All members of The Boys are either injected with Compund V or have some connection to it, essentially giving them super strength, speed and some pretty tough skin.
Karl Uban as Billy Butcher
The leader of The Boys in the second incarnation of the group, Billy Butcher is a huge, violent, smart, charismatic, calculating and ruthless bastard of an Englishman. Every word out of his mouth is used to further his goals and agenda. With that said, he is loyal to his group. Unless you cross a line.
Jack Quaid as Wee Hughie:
It is a shame they couldn’t get Simon Pegg, who the character was modeled after. One of the most prominent characters in the series, Hughie is recruited by Butcher after his girlfriend is turned into hamburger when a superhero (A-Train) slams into her. He’s our viewpoint into this world, and we get to see his character grow and adapt to his surroundings as he struggles with what is right and wrong, and if there is a limit to how far they should go.
Laz Alonsoas Mother’s Milk:
He’s a bad ass. I don’t want to go into spoilers, but he’s invested in the mission, smart, analytical and well trained. He has a long history with Butcher.
Karen Fukuhara as The Female:
A silent, deadly killer, The Female has a unquenchable thirst for violence. When The Boys have down times, you can find her taking mob contracts, getting into avoidable fights, or later on reading comic books to quell her need for carnage. Her and Frenchie have an unspeakable bond, he is the only one who can (somewhat) keep her reigned in. Whether Butcher sees her as a weapon or a human being in the series will remain to be seen.
Tomer Kapon as The Frenchman (Frenchie)
What a crazy bastard. His origin is… quite colorful. The truth you can take from it is Butcher found him at a pub at his lowest getting into a brawl. Like most of The Boys, his life was changed (usually for the worst) by a Super. Put Frenchie and The Female in a room with half a dozen supers and your super problem is solved.
The Boys have been filming in Hamilton and Toronto, Ontario this past summer. They will hit New York Comic Con this weekend, so expect to see a trailer, or at the very least, a teaser.
Up next this week: The Supers and supporting cast.