June 3, 2023

Even before “The Boys” season 3 aired, Eric Kripke said it was inspired by daily headlines of toxic masculinity, xenophobia, and white supremacy in America. Under this reading, the show’s title positions it as a story about what happens when immature, emotionally stunted men hold power. Though he’s still a kid, Ryan’s now in danger of becoming one of those men, taking charge of a populace that is itself infantilized through superhero culture, and perhaps all too ready to hand over power.

Say what you will about Homelander, but at least he’s shown that he’s capable of being a better father than Billy Butcher (Karl Urban). It’s Butcher abandoning Ryan that left the boy looking for a new father figure, and it certainly helps Homelander’s case that he’s Ryan’s biological dad and is willing to offer him the unconditional love he himself never knew. Now that Ryan’s mother, Becca Butcher (Shantel VanSanten), is gone, Kripke suggested that “The Boys” season 4 may devolve into a tale of two fathers, Billy and Homelander, fighting over their superpowered son, like an Avengers version of the Oscar-winning divorce drama “Kramer vs. Kramer:”

“Ryan is a really important piece of the story because he’s half Becca, half Homelander. If Butcher can figure out how to get his s*** together and get the kid back, that could be the single best weapon they have against Homelander. But vice versa. If Homelander wins the kid over, that’s apocalyptic because then there’s two Homelanders. It’s like a child drama with apocalyptic stakes. It’s like ‘Kramer vs. Kramer’ meets ‘Avengers: Endgame.’ So that will be a really rich story moving forward.”

“The Boys” season 4 does not have a release date yet, but it’s expected to hit Prime Video later this year.

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