The first season of Amazon Studios’ The Boys didn’t hold anything back with its brutal, bloody introduction to a world in which superpowered heroes are everywhere you look — but behind the scenes, they’re far from heroic. Season 2 of The Boys premieres September 4, with a third season of the series already in development.
The second story arc starts off fast and never lets up as Hughie, Billy Butcher, and the rest of the team find themselves on the run from The Seven and their corporate benefactors, Vought International. Digital Trends spoke to the series’ cast in order to get to reacquainted with everyone’s status heading into season 2 and to get an idea of what we might expect as the action heats up in The Boys‘ next season.
With the cast reflecting on the events of the first season as they look ahead to season 2, it probably goes without saying, but consider this a spoiler warning for anyone who hasn’t watched all of season 1 yet.
A team without a leader
When we last saw Billy Butcher, the leader of the show’s titular team was rudely awakened to the fact that the wife he thought dead was not only alive, but raising the child of Homelander, the superhuman commander of The Seven who sexually assaulted her years earlier.
Veteran actor Karl Urban portrays Butcher in The Boys, and indicated that the second season of the series will take a deeper dive into his character’s past while simultaneously forcing him to deal with what he needs to find in order to move forward.
“[Season 2] is very much about learning the origins of Billy Butcher and coming to understand that he is who he is well before the disappearance of [his wife] Becca,” Urban told Digital Trends. “He’s a lot more desperate. He’s a lot more vulnerable. One of his main drives is to find his wife, and he needs The Boys to do it.”
Adding that his old team is “not in a great place” after the events of the explosive season 1 finale, Urban explained: “They’re all wanted fugitives and they don’t trust Billy Butcher. So there’s a lot of obvious external conflict with the search, and there’s internal conflict within The Boys.”
Billy Butcher won’t be the only character to have his early years explored in season 2 of The Boys.
“We aren’t going to get an origin story of Mother’s Milk, but we do get more of an origin story for Frenchie, because Mother’s Milk is a part of that story,” revealed Laz Alonso, who plays Butcher’s aforementioned second-in-command, Mother’s Milk. “You actually get to see us when we like each other — when we were best friends.”
“Mother’s Milk also kind of lets you in on a little bit of why he’s even working with this crazy guy,” added Alonso. “You find out that it’s bigger than just The Boys — and that’s as much as I’m going to say, because I don’t want to steal my own thunder.”
As for Frenchie, the team’s weapons expert with a shady background, actor Tomer Kapon said the deeper dive into his character’s history will be accompanied by some serious soul-searching as he attempts to figure out his next move — both with the existing team and the latest addition: The silent-but-deadly Kimiko, played by Karen Fukuhara.
“There’s a new family member,” said Capon of Fukuhara’s character, “but the father of the family is gone.”
“I think Frenchie finds himself kind of running away from what’s happening with The Boys and running from the trauma we touched on in the first season,” he said. “And with Kimiko growing up and trying to find her own voice — literally speaking — Frenchie is just not ready to deal with that, because it forces him to deal with himself.”
According to Fukuhara, Kimiko is struggling to figure out where she fits in her new family and how to communicate with them as the season opens, while also dealing with the fallout from the experience that gave her superhuman strength and healing abilities. Although she’s the team’s secret weapon, the barrier that prevents her from communicating with Frenchie and the rest of the team remains an obstacle as the series’ second season picks up.
“She’s welcomed in via Frenchie, who is a huge empath, and [as season 2 begins], she’s trying to really become a part of The Boys by learning how to write and communicate,” she said. “There is a lot of love there.”
Another focal point of season 2 has actors Jack Quaid and Erin Moriarty reprise their roles as the star-crossed lovers Hughie and Annie (aka Starlight), respectively, who now find themselves on very different sides of the superhero divide. While Hughie spends his days in a grungy basement hideout, Annie attempts to keep her own secrets — and the role she played in the events of season 1 — hidden from Homelander and Vought International.
Despite the public and emotional distance between their characters, Quaid and Moriarty indicated that the relationship between Hughie and Annie will remain the moral center of The Boys and keep the show grounded — no easy task for a series that thrives on (occasionally brutal) spectacle and shocking displays of superhuman feats.
“One of the highlights of the first two seasons was working with Erin and finding just an insane amount of truth between these two people,” Quaid told Digital Trends. “They have to feel genuine and real, and feel like two people who would genuinely connect with one another — because you do have all this insanity around them. You need to root for it and it can kind of serve as an anchor for some of the crazier stuff that happens.”
“The days when we were filming scenes that were just Hughie and Annie getting to know each other throughout season 1 and falling for each other and seeking solace in each other … those were the easiest days,” added Moriarty.
The Boys (and Starlight) aren’t the only characters experiencing some setbacks as the second season begins.
Superpowered speedster A-Train and aquatic “hero” The Deep both ended the first season on down notes, with A-Train suffering a near-fatal heart attack and Deep exiled from The Seven. Both characters find themselves on the outside looking in as the events of season 2 begin to unfold.
“For A-Train, it’s all about, ‘How do I get my job security back?'” explained A-Train actor Jessie T. Usher. “Everything seems shaky, and it all kind of crumbled with his physical abilities toward the end of season 1. He knows his lifestyle is dependent on [being in The Seven], so whatever it takes to get that security back is where his head is at now. By any means necessary.”
The future is similarly murky for The Deep, according to actor Chace Crawford, who portrays the team’s former merman hero. At the end of the first season, The Deep found himself stuck in Sandusky, Ohio, struggling to come up with a path back to the spotlight after being outed for sexually assaulting Starlight.
“It’s been a whirlwind for him,” said Crawford. “The rug was ripped out from under him and he’s realizing he’s lost everything. … At the end of season 1, it was starting to sink in. So he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get back to where he wants to be.”
Scarier than fiction
After offering its own spin on the #MeToo movement and the danger of giving corporations too much power in the show’s first season, season 2 of The Boys will continue to explore some of the real-world issues and sociopolitical themes dominating conversation in the U.S. and elsewhere.
“We target alt-right nationalism, white supremacy, systemic racism, and the way xenophobia is manipulated to get the population under control,” said series creator and showrunner Eric Kripke of the timely themes the second season will explore. “I think a scared population is a controlled population. And I think we definitely double down on our satire.”
Season 2 of The Boys premieres September 4 on Amazon Prime Video.
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