If you’ve seen The Boys, you know the shadowy corporation Vought is the big bad, but its whole team of market-saturated “supes”? Not former Christian ingénue Starlight, who’s gone vigilante with the titular boys (and their impressive girls). Nor Queen Maeve, who crossed over at end of season two, joining he boys to whoop the ass of evil incarnate itself. The moral ambiguity of characters and their internal struggles in a chaotic world powered by a Big Brother-esque entity has made The Boys a must-watch, full of superb actors like Dominique McElligott, Jessie T. Usher, Karen Fukuhara, Laz Alonso, and Tomer Capon. All joined Dragon Con on Saturday at 2:30PM in the Hyatt for a panel that teased a brilliant upcoming season 3, full of more twists, terror, and fun.
McElligott, who plays supe Queen Maeve, cut straight to the chase: “We have the best job in the world on the best show in the world.” A sentiment everyone on the panel agreed with, calling the show incredible, a blast, and a dream to work on.
Capon, who plays the boys’ Frenchie, said, “This show, I mean it’s you guys. Thank you so much for being here. Yeah we’re family and we’re working hard and season three is underway right now…Every season just gets more and more fun for us, I think. It’s getting crazier and crazier for sure.”
Moderator Marc Lee assured him that nothing will shock fans after seasons one and two, which saw an intentional boat accident obliterate a giant whale, a mid-air S&M sex scene, and the infamous “love sausage” escapade.
“You think so? I remember saying that myself,” Usher, who plays supe speedster A-Train, said to audience laughter. “But, boy was I wrong.”
After the introductory banter, which included Capon joking about a well-placed Mother’s Milk tattoo and Fukuhara—who plays the silent Kimiko, a supe teamed with the boys—thanking everyone for coming, the audience asked questions ranging from the deep to the silly. Fans wanted to know how the actors find balance in and prepare for such dark material and what they do for fun on set. But at the forefront of everyone’s mind was season three.
When asked how new characters change the dynamics, Capon jumped in. “A new big douche bag superhero is coming to town. I don’t care how beautiful he looks, how handsome he is,” he joked, referring to Jensen Ackles casting as supe Soldier Boy. “Its just a funny headline. Seriously, I mean, no, you know, again, getting the scripts before starting shooting season three you always think, like Jessie said, how are they going to top that up? It was so crazy, season two, right? And then you read it and you read the characters, the new recruits, and you are like, ‘wow.’”
Talking about head writer Eric Kripke, Usher said, “[He’s] done a very great job of keeping the chemistry tight within the show. Like everyone that he’s added in, he’s handpicked them all.” He added, “I think we’ve all been pretty happy with the new additions.”
When asked about their favorite twists from season two, Usher said, “My favorite twist from season two has not finished untwisting yet, so I can’t really say a lot. It will continue to untwist in season three.” He continued, “You start to realize in season two…the strings that are being pulled behind the curtain at Vought and how people who are not necessarily Vought employees are in cahoots with Vought…and I feel like that starts to untwist on a much deeper in level season three, and that I’m very excited about.
Everyone else had less cryptic answers. Fukuhara loved seeing the complicated relationship between Butcher, his wife Beckah, and her son, Ryan. McElligott liked the untwisting of the supe Stormfront. Alonso, who plays the boys’ Mother’s Milk, liked doing the flashback to understand the past positive dynamic his character had with Frenchie. For Capon, he loved learning that Kimiko had her own sign language and that they could communicate, which he called beautiful.
When asked about The Deep’s and A-Train’s relationship going into season three, Usher said he’s happy with where things are. “We’re not the best of friends,” he said. “I just don’t respect him like that. You know, he just kisses Homelander’s ass, and I don’t really like that…being that close to him, having to buddy, buddy, you know, with him, like I was grinding my teeth all through season two.”
When asked about the grossest scene to film, Alonso said, “Wait until season three. It gets worse.”
But since we haven’t seen that, both Alonso and Capon conceded that it was “love sausage,” wherein an incarcerated supe with an abnormally large sexual organ that doubles as a weapon chokes Mother’s Milk, something Alonso didn’t realize until the day of shooting. Karl Urban (who plays Butcher) broke the news, which Alonso thought was a joke, even after Capon—an onset prankster who once stole a cow figurine from Alonso’s chair (and left a ransom note)—confirmed. Only after someone else gave him the most recent script did he believe it. The whole time he talked, Capon goaded him—much like their actual characters—asking, “Why so close minded?” The two actually improvised during filming, which didn’t make it into the final cut, where Frenchie gnawed at the “love sausage” to help free Mother’s Milk.
Usher had nothing quite so visceral, but having his toe sucked on in season one as traumatic. “I hate feet. I despise feet. I don’t even like my own feet. Having someone suck my toe is like my biggest nightmare,” he said. “Do you know how many times somebody has to suck your toe when they’re doing it on TV? Do you have any idea how many takes, close-ups, reaction shots, that I had to do?”
Usher also joked that to get into character, he stretches. McElligott said the costumes help, saying that Queen Maeve’s outfit centers and transforms her—and sometimes makes her even feel like an idiot or an asshole. Capon, who is Israeli, joked that he has to get into accent. Capon and Fukuhara, whose characters share a special bond, talk and get philosophical about scenes to ground them between all the blood and action. This is very different than how Capon works with Alonso, who joked that Capon always blocks his scenes. Capon, in turn, said this is actually a serious choice he took as Frenchie to get under Mother’s Milk’s skin.
“We can be off camera in our little holding area, playing backgammon, laughing, joking, whatever, and the minute we step on stage, it’s like, you know, an on/off switch, we turn into our characters immediately. And it’s a dance,” Alonso said. “We kinda speak just an instinctual language.” Capon agreed. “It’s team work. It’s team effort.”
The group—affable, funny, charming—rarely lacked for words, but when asked how they balance hope and cynicism, they went silent and the audience laughed as they took a good-natured pause. Usher offered the first thoughts. “Sensitive topics seem like that something it’s our duty to now discuss in this show because of the way that only The Boys can do,” he said. “We find beauty in like very sinister storylines, and even people, characters, because of the way it gets presented in the show.” For McElligott, Maeve has had the clearest redemption arc, clawing back from cynicism to hope, something she credited in part to Starlight. “As we see her story evolve, we see her try to find hope, or try find her own sense of power,” she said. “Being in a dark world, you’re right, it’s not easy.”
None of the actors had read the comic, but once cast, they devoured it, calling it wild, raunchy, and unique. All emphasized their desire to take inspiration or incorporate Easter eggs into the show. Speaking of raunchy, when asked about the infamous comic “supe orgy scene” (and whether it would appear in season three), they were tight lipped but turned the question back on the audience, asking who we thought from the panel would be most likely to appear in it: hands down, A-Train.
And finally, when asked about what one superpower they would choose, they all knew: Usher wants super speed, Capon wants Superman’s abilities, Alonso wants to imitate other’s likeness, and both Fukuhara and McElligott want teleportation—which Usher balked at, as if he knows something about season three. He took both women to the back of the stage to convince them otherwise. They returned unchanged.
“I’d still do it,” Fukuhara said.
“Me too,” said McElligott.
“That says a lot about you,” Usher said.
And does that say a lot about season three? I guess we’ll have to wait until it arrives.