[Warning: The following contains spoilers for the Season 2 finale of The Boys. Read at your own risk!]
The bombastic second season of The Boys drew to a chaotic close on Oct. 9. The finale served up Stormfront's (Aya Cash) comeuppance, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) in mediocre dad mode, and the reveal of Senator Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) as a brand new supe who has no interest in donning a cape. In classic The Boys style, fans were left with a million more questions than when the season started, the main one being: What on earth is going to happen in Season 3?
TV Guide sat down with showrunner Eric Kripke to get the scoop on that Season 2 finale and all the delightful Season 3 teases that were fit to print — including Stormfront's new superhero alias, the introduction of Jensen Ackles as Soldier Boy, and the end of Hughie (Jack Quaid) and Annie's (Erin Moriarty) Ross-and-Rachel phase.
Hughie can't seem to do anything without stepping right in the middle of superhero sh–. How will his relationship with newly revealed supe Senator Victoria Neuman evolve in Season 3? Why is he useful to her?
Eric Kripke: I don't want to give too much away, that's what we'll be unpacking in Season 3 — I can say that we're going to find Hughie working for the Bureau of Superhuman Affairs, the FBSA, and that he is going to be actually very close to Neuman. They will have evolved a friendship by the time we see them again. But obviously we have this big sword hanging over their heads of her real identity and why she's doing what she's doing, which we'll unpack in Season 3.
The thing about Hughie is he's not particularly good at the ultra-violence, but he's very competent, and I think we wanted to show that off [via Neuman]. He's very smart, he's a good investigator, he's amazing with technology, he has great ideas. We wanted a chance to showcase him doing what he does best and seeing that he's really strong, and an able character in the fight against supes. But of course it's all going to go sh– on him.
In the season finale, Homelander (Antony Starr) says that Stormfront is in a secure facility, but we all know that Homelander loves to lie at press conferences. Is it possible that we'll see Stormfront return in Season 3?
Kripke: I'm not going to say one way or another, but I will confirm that she is not dead and that she is now officially Stumpfront. She's just this kind of living torso. She cannot regenerate. The strength of Ryan's lasers — which were surprisingly powerful — are way more powerful than even Homelander's when Ryan gets angry enough. [The idea that] the woman who wanted the purity of a master race finds herself living for potentially centuries as a completely mutilated character — we thought was the appropriate poetic just desserts for that little Nazi!
Speaking of Stormfront, Amazon recently announced that Jensen Ackles is joining the cast in Season 3 as a WWII era supe named Solider Boy. Do he and Stormfront know each other?
Kripke: You're asking a good question, so it'd be silly to lie. Yes, he knew her when she was Liberty. There's a history of Vought that we're starting to map out because Soldier Boy has been a mainstay of Vought for decades. He was like John Wayne there, and so as a result, we're writing the history of Vought and how all the characters weave in together. And yeah, now Liberty is definitely a part of that.
Where does Alastair's (Goran Visnjic) death leave The Church and, frankly, The Deep (Chace Crawford)?
Kripke: The Church still continues, but I think we made the point at the end that The Deep is on his way out. And The Deep for us, The Deep is sort of like the Forrest Gump of Hollywood trends, and he just finds himself through every trend. And so he found himself in The Church, and then in Season 3 you'll find him speaking out against The Church.
What does Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) imagine her role to be in The Seven now that she's holding this anvil over Homelander's head?
Kripke: I think she's more aware than most how dangerous he is and knows that he is ultimately a ticking time bomb. So when you come in on Season 3, you find people feeling probably a little too comfortable because they scored a win and Homelander seems under control. She's one of the only [members of The Seven] who is feeling pretty edgy about what she believes is coming around the corner, and spoilers, she turns out to be right.
I thought for a split second in the finale that the show was setting up Butcher as reluctant father figure in Season 3, but then Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) leaves at the end. What is going through his head in that moment? That's a real level of empathy that we haven't seen in him before. I'm curious if we'll get a chance to see it again.
Kripke: No comment on whether we see it again, but I will say, for us in that moment, really when he sees Becca embrace Ryan — it's Karl Urban who said it best — Butcher stopped seeing Ryan as Homelander's son and starts seeing him as Becca's son. He shows empathy towards Ryan because he's realized that the kid is the last surviving part of Becca. So in that way, he loves the boy, but that's at war with the deep-seated rage that he has about Becca's death, and that rage is completely without direction and unprocessed. So, he'll struggle a lot again with his human side, which is represented by Becca, and frankly his monster side, which is represented by his father.
What's up with Starlight and Hughie? They seem to end on a good note, but they're also still in romantic limbo because she's back on The Seven.
Kripke: I don't want to necessarily say where they go, but I will say we don't want to play the ping-pong of they're together, they're not together, they're together, now they're not together. So whatever next move we make, we're going to stick with it for a while.