“We are your heroes,” echoes a powerful voice, as oversaturated images of costumed heroes fill the screen. A caped man dressed in blue strides through city wreckage and an armor-clad woman turns in trepidation, looking for the next threat. Accompanying every shot are Wagnerian strings and echoing bass drum thumps, capturing the heroes’ inner turmoil as they prepare to clash with a rogue member. From the darkness comes a title card adorned with sparks and steel, declaring the movie’s title, Dawn of the Seven.
But the heroes on the screen are neither Ben Affleck’s Batman nor Henry Cavill’s Superman. Rather, they are Homelander, A-Train, and Queen Maeve, members of the sadistic superhero group The Seven, antagonists on the Amazon series The Boys. But one would be forgiven for thinking that the clip promoted the latest DCEU release from director Zack Snyder. A promotional project for the upcoming The Boys season 3, the trailer uses several Snyder cues, including the subtitle “The Bourke Cut.”
Given the cynical view of superheroism held by The Boys, it wouldn’t be surprising if Snyder himself took umbrage. But instead, Snyder himself retweeted the trailer with the message “Congratulations to Director Bourke. Excited to see your vision realized.”
The “Bourke” in question is Adam Bourke, the film director introduced in season two. A production of evil Vought International, Dawn of the Seven exists in the world as part of a propaganda campaign to shore up more trust in the Seven after the world learned about the company’s role in creating Supes. More than mere entertainment, Dawn of the Seven seeks to maintain Vought’s control of public perception.
Such references to superhero fandom are hardly new for The Boys, which follows the lead of its source material by commenting upon superhero fiction and popular culture. When the character Mesmer showed up in season one, he not only represented the Teen Titans spoof Teenage Kix, but he was also played by former child star Haley Joel Osment as a once-lovable public figure turned horrendous creep. Reoccurring character Lamplighter has a powerset similar to that of Green Lantern but is played by Shawn Ashmore, best known for his performance as Iceman in the X-Men films.
While superhero references may be common to The Boys, it’s still surprising that Snyder would give his approval to the joke. The trailer gestures toward “the Snyder cut,” the online fan campaign that eventually led to the four-hour film Zack Snyder’s Justice League in 2021. The path to the movie’s release was filled with angry exchanges online, with some who used the hashtag “#releasethesnydercut” harassing journalists and critics who did not share their enthusiasm for Snyder’s films. Even after the movie was released, recent reports indicate that Snyder fans used Twitter bots to win recognition for a scene from Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Hopefully, the fact that Snyder’s being a good sport about the trailer will encourage those offended by it to refrain from attacking people online. After all, offense is what The Boys is all about.
The Boys season 3 Releases June 3 on Amazon Prime.