'The Boys' Season 3 Will Continue to Take Aim at Toxic Masculinity and Racism, Of Course

If you watch Amazon’s The Boys, you know the hard-edged superhero series pulls absolutely no punches. Anything and everything is a potential target for the show’s writers, from digs at Joss Whedon’s rewrites for 2017’s Justice League, to commentary on the United States’ divisive political landscape, to tackling the ideas of toxic masculinity and white supremacy. Fans have embraced The Boys for this very reason and, naturally, there are no plans to stop just yet … especially when it comes to very real social issues.

Creator Eric Kripke hasn’t shied away from the challenge of adapting Garth Ennis’ comic series of the same name in all its violent, adult-oriented, and frequently boundary-pushing glory. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kripke lays out what fans can expect for the third season. Spoiler alert: it’s still remaining unapologetically political.

“I can say that we spent the first two seasons exploring a lot of things that are going on in the United States, and in the third season we got interested in the history of the Vought universe and its fractured reflection of the United States. It’s like how people say that there are ‘good old days’ and that somehow there’s some sort of past that we need to be great again and return to; the issues we talk about on the show — racism, white supremacy, violence and sexual predation — have always been here. Make America great again for who exactly?

We have this character Soldier Boy, played by Jensen Ackles, who has been around since World War II, and through him we’re able to delve into issues as disparate as toxic masculinity and racism and some of the wars we’ve been through. We’ve been able to explore not just the here and now but the past — and that’s exciting.”

Politics and Superheroes

There will always be a vocal minority of online fans who push back at the very idea that entertainment tends to be political in nature, especially when it comes to superheroes. With the introduction of Ackles’ Soldier Boy in the next season alongside these quotes, Kripke continues to prove that he intuitively understands the history and implications of this subgenre by using these wildly exaggerated and superpowered characters to reflect on our own shortcomings and inherent flaws. There are entire essays to be written on how The Boys captures the problems of superheroes standing in as celebrities, religious figures, and politicians all at once — and how our current obsession with superheroes can lead to some dark places.

Kripke also touches on how current events motivated him to incorporate certain topics in the show itself:

It was the daily headlines that inspired it. We drew from them pretty extensively. Those were the early days of the Trump administration. A really toxic xenophobia was just starting to spread. And then there was Charlottesville. White supremacy and Nazis, they scare the living fuck out of me. And it’s just so insane that it’s a controversial opinion that, like, Nazis are bad. It’s just fucking insane to me! I really walked into season two with the direction of “We’re going to tell a story about a modern-day white supremacist.” The books have a Stormfront, but it’s a man and he’s very German. It’s all pretty much what you see is what you get. But modern-day white supremacy is so insidious with social media and the way it draws people in. It’s not weird dudes with strange mustaches — it’s cute girls on YouTube talking about how they’re independent thinkers. I think that’s so scary and really needed to be talked about. And again, yes, it’s a superhero show — but we have a show where we can actually talk about that stuff. I was really passionate about exploring that.

The Boys is one of the best shows currently streaming and I can’t wait to see how much more ideologically potent the next season will be.

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