This article contains spoilers for The Boys Season 2 finale.
The Boys’ demented and thrilling second season opened up a can of Vought International worms by introducing Aya Cash’s fascist Stormfront, and revealing the company’s ties to Nazi experiments during WWII.
During a pivotal scene towards the end of the season, Stormfront opened up to Homelander, the current leader of The Seven, showing him her place in Vought’s history as Nazi founder Frederick Vought’s wife. Not only that, she confirmed that she was given the first successful dose of Compound V, turning her into a extremely powerful supe who had managed to outlive her own daughter.
In Season 3, we’ll dig deeper into the disturbing history of Vought with the introduction of Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy and his former team, Payback, who The Boys’ showrunner Eric Kripke notes were “The Seven before The Seven”.
In Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comics, Soldier Boy serves as Payback’s leader, fighting alongside Stormfront during WWII and beyond. The character plays as a somewhat brutal but ultimately cowardly twist on Marvel’s Captain America, which gives the writing team behind The Boys a lot to work with in Season 3, given the MCU’s stranglehold on blockbuster cinema, and both America’s murky history and present state of affairs.
“One of the things I love most about the world in [The Boys] comic books isn’t just how fleshed out it is, but the history of it. It goes back 60, 70 years and it’s just as fleshed out as it is today,” Kripke said in an interview with EW. “One of the reasons that we’re getting into Soldier Boy [in season 3] and that team, Payback, is we’re interested in exploring a little bit of how we got here. Through the history of the supes, we can tell a little bit about the history of America and how we ended up in the current fraught position that we’re in. Soldier Boy gives us an opportunity to do that.”
This may give Cash an opportunity to return as Stormfront in flashbacks during Season 3, but the actress’ return hasn’t yet been officially revealed. Kripke would only confirm that “We will be exploring the history of [Payback] and all the members in it.”
Soldier Boy’s story seems set to rip off the rose-tinted glasses that older generations tend to wear when looking back at America’s past.
“There’s always been systemic racism and conflict and a lot of ugliness, yet always a fight to make things better,” Kripke says. “Certain politicians like to pitch this somehow idyllic ‘good old days’ where everything was perfect and calm. That is complete and utter bullshit. It was never that way. So, by exploring the history of Vought in the history of America, we get to make some of those points. There was never an America when they say ‘Make America Great Again.’ It was always a struggle. That’s the point. It’s a struggle to make things better.”
Ackles signed on for the role after a chance phone call to Kripke, and during a period when he was looking for post-Supernatural projects.
“He texted me back in three minutes and said, ‘I definitely want to do this!'” Kripke said. “Within a week he was booked, but it wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t just randomly called. I hadn’t talked to him in months.”
During Season 2, Soldier Boy is said to have been ‘deceased’ since the early 80s, but in Season 3 he may still have a personal beef with one of Billy Butcher’s boys, or Billy himself.
“We’ve been hearing about Soldier Boy for the last two seasons and the role that he played in our cinematic universe,” Laz Alonso, who plays Mother’s Milk in the ultraviolent Amazon series, teased. “It’ll be interesting to see what storyline he carries throughout this season and which one of us has to really go head-to-head with him, because with the head protagonist or antagonist for that season, there’s usually one of us who has a bone to pick with ’em. Frenchie had Lamplighter [Shawn Ashmore] this season. There’s gonna be fun in seeing what kind of history we drum up.”
The Boys stars Jack Quaid as Hughie, Tomer Capon as Frenchie, Karen Fukuhara as Kimiko, Karl Urban as Butcher, Erin Moriarty as Starlight, Antony Starr as Homelander, Dominique McElligott as Queen Maeve, Jessie T. Usher as A-Train, Chace Crawford as The Deep, Nathan Mitchell as Black Noir and Giancarlo Esposito as Stan Edgar.