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The Boys universe is about to get a blast from the past in the form of Jensen Ackles' Soldier Boy, who will make his debut in the show's upcoming third season (premiering this summer). A cowardly and boot-licking parallel to Marvel's Steve Rogers/Captain America, the pseudo-patriotic character was the first superhero Vought ever created with the Compound V serum developed by Nazi scientist Frederick Vought. Appearing on the most recent episode of Michael Rosenbaum's Inside of You podcast, Ackles shed a bit more light on the old war hero, describing him as "a jackass" — mainly due to his antiquated views on society.
“He’s a grandpa. He’s from the ‘40s. He fought in World War II and he’s just this curmudgeon, bigoted a**hole," the actor explained. "And he doesn’t age, so he’s this 40-year-old superhero who’s really 80 or 90 years old. There’s just so much material there and you’ll see what I mean when you see the show, but he has a taste for people that were of his era."
So, what's he been up to in the decades since Germany surrendered to the Allies in May of 1945? According to Ackles, Soldier Boy has been imprisoned against his will. This could be a reference to the original comics, in which he's captured and tortured by Billy Butcher.
“What happens is — and I don’t think this is any secret, I’m not giving anything away — they kind of find me and I’ve been essentially in captivity for awhile," Ackles added. "And so, when they do, I’m bearded and I look like [Tom Hanks in] Castaway. But then they clean me up and I get my superhero outfit back on and I got to town."
And yes, the facial hair you'll see in the new season was 100 percent real:
“I didn’t know I could grow a beard like that … I had more product for the beast on my face than I had for any other part of my body ... You gotta get the shampoo that’s special for the beard, you gotta get the conditioner that’s special for the beard, you gotta get the beard balm; there’s beard butter, there’s the wax, there’s the oil. It was my first time into this world, so I’m just buying different ones and trying different ones. A whole side of my bathroom was taken over by beard sh**.”
The actor went on to reveal that he landed the gig while discussing his Supernatural spinoff project with Eric Kripke (creator of both shows and current showrunner/executive producer on The Boys). Production on the final season of Supernatural was winding down and Ackles cracked a joke about how he was about to be unemployed.
“I was like ... 'Whenever you’re ready for me to come on over for The Boys, just let me know.’ And he was like, ‘Hey, man, if you wanna come over to The Boys, I’ll write you a part. I got no problem with that.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, dude, I’d love to come over there and play it. I love that show!’ And he goes, ‘I don’t know if I want to bring you in for just a bit part. There’s another role. Tell you what, I’m gonna send you over some material, take a look at it, let’s talk tomorrow.’ So he sends me over Soldier Boy and I read this material and I was like, ‘Yes! Yes! Absolutely! Who do I have to kill [for this part]?’"
At the time, Sony Pictures Television — which co-produces the hit Amazon series — was allegedly in talks with “some much bigger names than me," Ackles recalled. "Eric was like, ‘Look, I know you can do this, but we’re gonna have to convince the Powers [That Be]. You’re gonna put yourself on tape.’ I was like, ‘Great, I’ll do that.’ So I did and I sent it to him only."
Kripke gave him several pieces of feedback before submitting the tape to the higher-ups. “We went back and forth about four times and he was like, ‘OK, I’m cool if you’re cool. I can take this up the chain here and see what kind of response we get.’ I was like, ‘If you’re gonna go to bat for me, I want to give you the biggest bat I can. So tell me if there’s anything else I can do.’ And he’s like, ‘You’re good.’ And so, he went to bat for me and then boom — that was it. But I worked for it. It wasn’t just a, ‘Hey, we wanna bring you on for Season 3!’ No, I had to earn this one.”
The self-taped audition, which involved a scene between Soldier Boy and Billy Butcher (played in live-action by Karl Urban), was filmed during COVID lockdown in the summer of 2020. Since no one was available to read Butcher's lines, Ackles did it himself. "I pre-recorded Butcher, kind of doing my Butcher voice and then had [my wife] Danneel off to the side pressing play and pause," he added. "So I was giving my lines as Soldier Boy and then hearing my pre-recorded Butcher lines back to me."
When asked if Soldier Boy will make an appearance in future seasons, Ackles answered: "The door is not closed. We’ll put it that way ... It’ll depend on how it all cuts together. I haven’t seen anything cut together, but I’ve gotten some good feedback from those that need to be impressed."
The Boys returns to Prime Video for its third season Friday, June 3.
It may not be Ackles' only foray into the world of superheroes. The actor teased another potential comic book project on the horizon, stating: "There’s a DC property that I’m currently developing with Warner Bros. and some other good partners that I’ve got my fingers crossed for. But again, I’m not gonna talk about it because you don’t want to jinx it.”