‘We’ll Cross That Bridge When We Burn It’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘The Boys’
If someone had told us a decade ago that one of the most popular and critically acclaimed series today would feature tiny men walking around inside giant dongs and scenes gorier than most slasher movies, we’d have laughed and showed them the ratings for The Big Bang Theory. And yet, here we are, eagerly awaiting the fourth season of The Boys to hit us in the senses. But with its spin-off, Gen V, dropping on Prime Video, here’s a bag full of trivia about the series where the superheroes aren’t heroic, and sea creatures often get the short end of the stick…
They Built a 20-Foot Long Prosthetic Penis
Yep, the boys behind The Boys went practical for that scene in the opening episode of Season Three. “Even though it was very much sweetened by the effects, that is a practical penis,” showrunner Eric Kripke told Variety. “That is an 11-foot high, 20-foot long penis head that has a urethra, a tunnel in it, and built at great expense. We got Sony and Amazon to pay so much money to build this set. And it’s just another reason why I love my job.”
Of course, we can all blame the whole Ant-Man/Thanos discourse for the diabolically graphic scene. “These evolve in a writers’ room, and the evolution of that sequence started with, ‘We need The Boys to fight a superhero.’ So then we ask, ‘What big superhero haven’t we done yet?’ Someone says, ‘We haven’t done Ant-Man.’ And then someone else says, ‘There’s that meme of Ant-Man climbing up Thanos’ butt and blowing him up. So we should do that. We should give the audience the thing that Marvel can’t give to them.’” Since they already did a butt explosion in Season One (R.I.P. Translucent), “there’s really only so many orifices you can go in,” Kripke added.
About Those Almond Joys
Not only is it subversively genius and objectively hilarious to have a candy bar be a superhero’s Kryptonite, but Black Noir’s fatal weakness for Almond Joy was also inspired by the actor playing the silent supe himself. In the comics, the quiet Batman parody doesn’t have a nut allergy, but actor Nathan Mitchell, it turns out, does. “We came up with it,” Kripke told IGN. “Actually, the actors and I were all at Comic-Con promoting Season One, and Nathan Mitchell has a very severe nut allergy. And I had just learned that at Comic-Con. You know, if someone has a granola bar with nuts, he’s literally gotta back away from it cause it’s like a vampire with garlic. And Karl (Urban) started laughing and said, ‘You should really give that to Black Noir as his Kryptonite.’”
Kripke immediately thought it was a brilliant idea, adding, “I mean, everyone thinks that a superhero’s weakness is going to be this really exotic thing, and it’s just so funny to me that it’s actually a very common thing that is thousands of people’s Kryptonite. People are just sometimes born with nut allergies, like Nathan, like the actual real-life Black Noir. So we gave it to him as his weakness, and if you go back and watch the episodes again, if you remember when he goes down to crime analytics in Episode Four, and Anika, the tech there, is eating an Almond Joy, and he holds out the garbage can like, ‘Put that thing away!’” (Watch the scene below at the 2:04 mark.)
Translucent Was Created for the Show
While the rest of the Seven went straight from comic to screen, Translucent was created by Kripke to replace the extraterrestrial comic book member Jack from Jupiter. During a Reddit AMA, Kripke explained why Jack didn’t work for the adaptation, “We’re trying to make the show as grounded as possible — and the story to the public is that people were suddenly and spontaneously born with these powers (That’s not the truth of course, but Vought is pitching a Mutant-like mythology to the public). To say one of their heroes is an alien kinda kills that myth. Jack always felt too fantastic for the world we were trying to create.”
Charlize Theron Didn’t Film With the Cast
The actor made a surprise cameo in the third season, but Theron didn’t get to film with the rest of the cast in Toronto. Instead, she did a full-day shoot in California, and her part — as Stormfront in Vought Studios’ Dawn of the Seven film — was added into the mix during post-production.
What The Deep Was Really Eating (Not Timothy)
Luckily for everyone involved, Timothy was just a nifty piece of CGI, and actor Chace Crawford didn’t have to eat a real octopus Oldboy-style. What he did eat resembled a kind of mochi ball, drenched in a chocolate syrup mix.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg Were Going to Direct the Pilot
The writing duo of Superbad, Pineapple Express and Sausage Party are the show’s executive producers and were originally up to direct the pilot episode but bowed out due to scheduling conflicts. This allowed 10 Cloverfield Lane director Dan Trachtenberg to helm the one where Homelander destroys a plane with his eyes.
The Writers’ Room Rule
When asked during the Reddit AMA about Transluscent’s climactic ass-bomb death — “Shouldn’t his impenetrable skin have contained the blast within his body?” — Kripke explained that sure, “the skin should have contained the blast, but then we’d have missed out on that amazing bloody explosion of ‘blood and meat’ (’cause Translucent predicted his own death).” He added their writers’ room mantra: “Keep Your Rules in Mind But Never Logic Yourself Out of Entertainment.”
Some of the Biggest Changes (So Far)
Victoria Neuman and Stormfront were both gender-swapped for the TV show. Also, in the comics, Butcher is forced to kill a newborn Ryan after he explodes out of his mother’s womb with his heat-vision on full blast. Meanwhile, Mother’s Milk was born with superhero abilities thanks to his mom working in the Compound V factory and getting contaminated. He has to regularly suckle on his mother’s teat to survive — hence his name.
Real Singing Talent
Karen Fukuhara, who plays Kimiko, displayed her real singing skills in Season Three. It turns out that in addition to years of martial arts training, she also grew up performing in an a cappella group.
The dancing in the musical number was the challenging part. “I’ve never done dancing before,” she admitted to Variety. “I’ve taken maybe one hip-hop class where everyone in the room knew how to dance and I just couldn’t keep up. It was a challenge. On day one of dance rehearsal, I really doubted my abilities to get it together.”
Erin Moriarty Also Really Sang Her Big Number
Also busting out the vocals, Moriarty sang “Never Truly Vanish” at Translucent’s funeral. “I was nervous,” Moriarty remembers, adding that Kripke wanted the song to be as ”Celine Dion-esque” as possible. “Singing gives me stage fright more than anything else, but luckily, I got to record it before, and then on the day, it was more like lip-syncing.” It was so good that Prime turned it into an entire promotional music video.
The Fatal Flight Needed an Adaptation Adjustment
In the comics, the fatal flight that Homelander and Queen Maeve abandoned was part of the September 11th attacks. While the supes manage to intercept an attacking plane, they end up crashing it into the Brooklyn Bridge, causing a major catastrophe. The event showed how careless the Seven could be, but the show chose to illustrate Homelander’s lack of heroism instead.
Homelander’s Suit Is Gnarly
When he’s not filming, Anthony Starr’s Homelander suit needs to be attached to a cooling system to keep him from overheating. “Actually, it’s pretty functional, and it works pretty well,” Starr told Entertainment Tonight. “But the problem is the battery pack has a noisy motor, so we’ve got to take it off when we’re shooting.”
How a Toronto Protest Influenced the Show
The scene in Season Two where Homelander goes apeshit on a civilian crowd had to be rescheduled following protests related to the sequence’s proposed location. The filmmakers wanted to stage the scene involving around 450 people in Toronto’s Mel Lastman Square — the memorial site of the 2018 Toronto van attack that claimed the lives of 11 people. Toronto Councillor John Filion was quoted as saying he “flipped out” at the idea of the space being used for a fictional bloody massacre that would no doubt trigger those traumatized by the real-world attack. “It’s about people literally reliving those events,” Filion explained. “It’s disrespectful to even think of it. Even if nobody had seen anything, it’s still disrespectful.”
The producers understood and moved the shoot to a different location.
The Whale Scene Took a Ton of Work
The absurd sequence of Billy Butcher crashing his speedboat, My Big Wet Dream, all the way through a giant whale took a whole week to film out on Lake Ontario. Technically, the scene took five months to complete because that’s how much time went into building Lucy, the ill-fated whale. The silicone and Styrofoam model had a “secret backdoor,” so the crew could insert the camera to get the needed, uh, inside shots.
The Writer Behind the Grossest Scenes in ‘The Boys’
While the show is the product of teamwork, one writer’s name keeps popping up whenever there’s a discussion of the show’s most outrageous scenes. “Craig Rosenberg, who brought you such hits as ‘dolphin through the windshield’ and ‘gill fingering,’ came up with the whale,” Kripke once told Entertainment Weekly. “I think he specifically wanted to top the dolphin. I was initially reluctant, but he argued that there are only so many more times The Deep can kill marine life through his sheer incompetence, so let’s go out big. Through his persistence and passion for the idea, he won me over.”
Rosenberg was also behind the “Termite Inside a Penis” scene in Season Three, and we’re sure he’ll be shocking us with another banger of a sequence in the upcoming fourth season.