'The Boys' Are "Fucking Bringing It" and Embracing Discomfort in Season 4

The cast members explain why "it's better to be uncomfortable" when making a show

Photo: Jan Thijs / Prime Video

BY Marriska FernandesPublished Jun 14, 2024

The Boys has long occupied a space that no other show could fill: a weird, unpredictable story about superheroes who aren't necessarily the heroes doing right by the people. The Prime Video series debuted five years ago and the fandom has only increased with every season.

Exclaim! caught up with the cast in Mexico City ahead of Season 4's trailer drop at CCXP Mexico 2024, where the actors share that the unpredictable nature of the show is why fans keep coming back to The Boys.

"In the standard superhero fare, you're gonna get a lot of permutations of the same thing, right?" offers Chace Crawford, the team's aquatic hero, the Deep. "It's the good guy doing the right thing. And our show is just so weird and so out there. It's like, what is gonna happen this year?"

The cast returns for Season 4 (which premiered on June 13) with Antony Starr as the Seven's leader, Homelander. When it comes to storytelling, Starr explains that, while film has only two hours of character exploration, there's a different requirement when doing TV.

"You get to show up every season, every episode, every scene by being fresh, staying creative," he says. "It's a great experience to have. Across the board with all the people on the show still turning up right in Season 4, fucking bringing it and really caring about the evolution of the characters and the storylines. It doesn't happen on every show, some people get really complacent."

He continues, "The worst thing I've heard is — I don't hear it on this show — that my character wouldn't do that. The question is, well, what if they did? I think it's a real problem if the show falls in love with its own formula, which ours doesn't, and the characters get very complacent and comfortable in what they know of the character. It's a very comfortable spot to be, and it's better to be uncomfortable. So I'm very pleased to say that we've still have that level of freshness and discomfort."

The Boys is certainly unpredictable, and many storylines and arcs are ones that viewers won't see coming. From sexcapades and gore to violence, politics and drama, the series has been known to get wild and weird at every turn. Remember last season's "Herogasm" episode? According to Crawford, the new writers continue to find "novel ways to go about weird things this season," while Starr adds that the team is "very creative."

Erin Moriarty, who plays Starlight, says, "[Series showrunner Eric] Kripke was the one who would say [in season one], 'You're not fucking ready.' That's what he kept saying. We should have waited until season four [to say that], because now y'all really are not ready! We mean it more than ever — you guys can't be ready."

Claudia Doumit adds in agreement, "I always think I know what's going to happen and I'm always wrong. I'm pleasantly surprised."

The cast had to be tight-lipped about season 4, but were excited at what they personally got to explore for their characters, especially after being with the show for five years.

Crawford got to flesh out his character arc in Season 4: "Leaving off Season 4, Homelander made him cross a line, and now that [the Deep's] crossed that line, I think he is open to owning his darker side a little bit more. It's interesting and it's also funny and weird and bizarre. They found a way to write it brilliantly."

For Starr's Homelander, it's simply an extension of what's already been set up — mainly fatherhood and dealing with his past, which he's been doing all the way through. "The guy's always been trying to escape his past. There's some very cathartic stuff that comes up in Season 4. It just gets deeper and deeper and deeper," Starr says.

Both Crawford and Starr feel like The Boys has been a pivotal point in their careers. New Zealand actor Starr has been in the industry for decades, but only gained widespread recognition as Homelander.

But what's been important to Starr is the environment in which he works and operates. He's pleased with the collaborative experience he's had with Kripke. "It started off very open and collaborative, and it's expanded and extended from there," explains Starr. "It's just gotten better and better, and it's pretty rare that you get that. I've been very fortunate that they have really given me ownership and responsibility when it comes to the character and creative license to build with them. It's super rewarding for me."

Crawford, who previously became a household name with the hit series Gossip Girl, agrees: "It's been the most rewarding thing in my career and in my life. It's such a weird and complex role, even though he's a very simple, unaware guy — it's just been awesome. My only complaint is I wish I had more scenes to do. I could do it all day."

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