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Forget everything you thought you knew about superhero TV shows, because Amazon Prime Video's The Boys is here to turn them on their head.
The cast of The Boys is back with season 2 on Friday, September 4 on Amazon Prime Video - and the series has proved such a phenomenal hit, it's already been confirmed it will be back for a third season.
Delightfully lewd, utterly outrageous, gorily violent and wickedly funny, The Boys takes superheroes – or Supes – and make them the bad guys.
Set in a world where the multi-million conglomerate Vought and their superhero collective The Seven have a stranglehold over the public, politicians and the truth, it’s going to take some special characters to unearth the dirty secrets of the Supes and score some vigilante justice.
Our unlikely rabble of heroes – The Boys - are that group. They want to expose the truth about The Seven, but they're going to have put their lives on the line to bring down the dangerous and superhero collective.
Meet the cast and characters of this must-watch series...
Hughie – Played by Jack Quaid
The Hunger Games star played the central hero of season 1, who suffers a devastating loss at the hands of a Supe in the very first scene of the show.
Hughie, who had grown up as a nerdy fan of The Seven, suddenly finds himself caught up in a dangerous battle with the group after he is approached by the mysterious and intimidating Billy Butcher.
Talking about Hughie's season 2, Quaid said: "Butcher from Hughie’s perspective, betrayed everyone. He feels very alone and he feels bad about lying to Annie [Starlight] in season 1.
"But he reaches a point where he wonders whether to keep this fight going. He does because he doesn’t really have anything else.
"In season 1, he latches on to people who tell him what to do, in season 2 he is starting to see how he can do that on his own and starting to realise who is on the inside. He’s not just doing what Starlight or The Boys tell him to do."
Billy Butcher – Played by Karl Urban
The Star Trek actor comes with all the best one-liners and a Danny Dyer-esque cockney accent as he plays the leader of The Boys.
Despite his considerable front and straight-talking attitude, Billy has plenty of secrets of his own, including a very personal loss which is fuelling his battle with The Seven.
Talking about season 2 at Comic-Con 2020, Urban said: "If season 1 was blind revenge for the perceived death of his wife, season two is about getting her and saving her.
"The moral question is how far is Butcher willing to go and what is he willing to sacrifice."
It has also been revealed that Billy the Butcher's pet dog from the comics, Terror, will appear in season 2.
Mother's Milk – Played by Laz Alonso
An old acquaintance of Billy, Mother’s Milk was dragged back into action for The Boys in season 1.
He had gone straight, settled down romantically and was helping rehabilitate criminals – but then Billy came calling and he knows exactly which buttons to press.
The main problem that Billy has persuading him to come back is his hatred for another member of the team….
Frenchie – Played by Tomer Capon
Bringing some Gallic flair to the Boys, as well as some expertise with chemicals and explosives, Frenchie brings humour and heart to the team.
Frenchie’s fascination and determination to know the true story about The Female is what eventually brings her into The Boys team.
Capon told fans at Comic Con: "In season 2, the audience do peek through the window for Frenchie and get a little sneak peek at his origin story.
"I love this stuff so much as a comic book fan. You may even get to know his real name which is interesting. I can’t wait for fans to see that."
The Female – Played by Karen Fukuhura
A mysterious late arrival in season 1, her relationship with Frenchie is one of the key emotional hooks to the series.
The Female brings some much needed muscle and is the one Supe on the same side as the Boys.
Talking about the evolution of her character in season 2, Fukuhara said: "We explore her relationship with her history in season two. And how that alters her relationship with Frenchie.
"We see different sides to her, not just the feral animalistic side, but growing into her womanhood."
Homelander – Played by Antony Starr
Antony Starr is a scene-stealer as leader of The Seven, Homelander.
Part-Superman, part-Captain America, Homelander has a squeaky clean public image and is portrayed by the media as an all-American hero. The reality? He’s not all that he seems.
Starr’s ability to switch from a beaming All-American hero to sinister and pure evil at a click of the fingers makes him a delightfully camp and terrifying villain.
He has been described as "the strongest physical man on the show" but also "the weakest emotional man on the show".
The jaw-dropping ending and demise for one character at the end of season 1, will leave a lasting legacy on Homelander in season 2.
Starlight – Played by Erin Moriarty
The newest member of The Seven, and an innocent conservative Christian, Starlight gets a nasty shock when she gets to peek around the curtain of what really happens at Vought.
Starlight battles with her beliefs, misogyny and a problematic romance across the first season.
Looking ahead to season 2, Moriarty said: "What was fun about season two and what I think people will find satisfying in terms of her trajectory - she steps into her power.
"Her intention is the same as season 1, episode 1: she wants to be the best superhero in the world.
"Her morals are intact, but she’s forced to adapt to the dark world she’s exposed to. And that’s where really interesting storylines come in, because she has to collaborate with characters you wouldn’t expect.
Queen Maeve – Played by Dominique McEligott
A twisted take on Wonder Woman, Queen Maeve is one of the more likable members of the Seven, however, her spirits have been broken by the actions of her team and Vought.
Battling alcoholism and hiding a secret romantic past, the super-strength warrior is usually begrudgingly fighting crime and flying the Vought flag by Homelander’s side.
A-Train – Played by Jessie T Usher
The fastest man on the planet is hiding some dark secrets and battling addiction. It is his disastrous actions that bring Hughie and Billy the Butcher together in episode one.
Talking about A-Train's desperation to remain in The Seven, Jessie T Usher said: "We’ll learn more in season 2 about why he’s so determined and what he’s scared of.
"He’s afraid of a lot of things that could happen. His nightmares drive him to do some really crazy stuff."
The Deep – Played by Chace Crawford
His super powers mean that he can help with any underwater rescues and he also has the incredible ability to speak to sea creatures – even fresh lobsters on the counter in the supermarket.
The fishy superhero has the vilest introduction to the series, using his fame and powers for the sleaziest ends, but his story takes several unexpected turns across the first season. Not least, that dolphin scene.
"He’s not very self-aware and he was finally confronted with his own inner turmoil [in season 1]," said Crawford.
"He goes on a few different quests to find love and connection in season 2. He still wants to be back on the Seven."
Black Noir – Played by Nathan Mitchell
The most mysterious member of the Seven, Black Noir remains an enigma for much of season one. The quietest Supe in Vought, he is a reliable ass-kicker and has the respect of Homelander for not letting him down or causing trouble for the group with personal vices.
Translucent - Played by Alex Hassell
Translucent's skin means that he has the power to be invisible and also makes him impenetrable to weapons and bullets. Handy for fighting villains... and also being a massive creep with women.
The Boys first battle comes against the hard-to-spot Supe in episode 1.
New cast members for Season 2
Stormfront - Played by Aya Cash
It was revealed at Comic Con 2019 that You’re the Worst star Aya Cash is joining the second season as the latest member of The Seven, Stormfront.
In the comics, Stormfront is male and his public-facing image is that he is a reincarnated Viking with electrical powers and limited ability to control the weather – but his true origin story is much darker.
Talking about how the character had been updated for the TV series, Eric Kripke said: “We wanted to sort of create Homelander’s worst nightmare. And his worse nightmare would be a strong woman who wasn’t afraid of him and proceeded to steal his spotlight.
"I think that would hurt him way more than if it were a male character because he is a gaping hole of insecurity."
This new Stormfront has the same "hateful ideologies" as found in the comics, but is also social-media savvy.
“A lot of hate and negative thought these days, if you look online, is packaged in really slick, social media-attractive ways," said Kripke.
"Young people are trying to hook in a new generation and we sort of wanted to reflect how insidious that is."
Lamplighter - Played by Shawn Ashmore
Shawn Ashmore has joined the cast of The Boys season two as Lamplighter, a former member of the Seven before he left under mysterious circumstances to be replaced by Starlight.
Lamplighter was involved the break-up of The Boys eight years ago, so his arrival will have a big impact on Billy the Butcher's gang.
Ashmore is best known for playing Bobby Drake / Iceman in the X-Men movies.
Showrunner Eric Kripke said: "We were thrilled that Shawn - who is, let’s be honest, an OG superhero - wanted to play the crucial part of Lamplighter.
"He brings so much depth, menace, and world weary humanity to this former member of the Seven.
"And Shawn is a really good guy. We’re grateful to have him join our bloody little family.”
Secret Role - Patton Oswalt
It has been confirmed that the comedian and actor Oswalt (Ratatouille, The Secret Life of Pets, The Goldbergs) will play a secret role in season two.
Fan theories on who he may play include The Legend, a man who knows the Supes secrets and uses them for blackmail, and Tek Knight, a founding member of the group Payback who has no super powers, but does own a technologically advanced suit.
Stan Edgar - Played by Giancarlo Esposito
Following the exit of Stillwell at the end of season one, Vought CEO Stan Edgar - played by Breaking Bad legend Giancarlo Esposito - comes to the fore in season 2.
Talking about how Edgar fits in with The Seven, Homelander actor Anthony Star told ComicBook.com: "Homelander thinks he's the most important player in the game, so to speak, but Edgar very much comes from a different angle.
He represents a big corporation and he really puts Homelander into a very interesting position for a superhero that is used to getting his own way and being so strong and in control.
"Edgar really throws the cat amongst the pigeons there and it sets old Homey off on a bizarre trajectory."
Madelyn Stillwell - Played by Elisabeth Shue
The Senior VP of Hero Management for Vought, Madelyn pulls the strings for the superheroes, securing them reality TV shows and ad partnerships and keeping all their dark private lives out of the press and social media.
As matriarch for the Seven, Madelyn’s primary concerns are Vought’s stock price and her new political campaign to get Vought’s Supes into the US military forces.
Stillwell departed the show at the end of season 1, but Homelander's complex 'relationship' with his old boss with still be felt and noticed in season 2.
Ashley - Played by Colby Minifie
One of Vought's stressed out and over-worked PR and marketing team, Ashley is always on hand to help clean up the mess left behind by The Boys. She's also behind a lot of the positive PR stunts that keep The Boys public image squeaky clean.
You may recognise Colbie from award-winning series such as Fear the Walking Dead, Nurse Jackie, Jessica Jones and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel.
Coming in Season 3
Soldier Boy - Jensen Ackles
Ackles will portray Soldier Boy - the original Superhero. After Soldier Boy fought in World War II, he became the first super celebrity, and a mainstay of American culture for decades.
Showrunner and Executive Producer of The Boys Eric Kripke stated: "When I was a child, I had a crazy, impossible dream - to provide Jensen Ackles with gainful employment.
"I’m happy to say that dream has come true. Jensen is an amazing actor, an even better person, smells like warm chocolate chip cookies, and I consider him a brother.
"As Soldier Boy, the very first Superhero, he’ll bring so much humour, pathos, and danger to the role. I can’t wait to be on set with him again, and bring a bit of Supernatural to The Boys.”
Season 1 cast
Popclaw - Played by Brittany Allen
Outside of The Seven, one of the Supes we meet in season 1 is Popclaw, a successful movie actress with retractable blades in her arms - hence her name.
You may recognise Brittany from the TV show All My Children or for her roles in horror films Jigsaw and The Prodigy.
Hughie's Father – Played by Simon Pegg
The Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz star was the inspiration for Hughie in the comics, so it’s a neat nod to the Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson series to have him playing the central character's father.
Hughie’s telly addict dad is part of his inspiration to team up with Billy Butcher, as he refuses to live the quiet life like his father.
Robin - Jess Salgueiro
Hughie's girlfriend is the emotional hook for the series, giving her boyfriend the motivation and desire to fight for The Boys.
Canadian actress Jess won the TIFF 2018 Rising Star award and has previously appeared in Orphan Black and Kim's Convenience.