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The Boys stars tease murderous superhero send-up for Amazon series at SDCC

By Trent Moore
The Boys Amazon Prime

Amazon is taking a unique shot at the superhero genre with the upcoming comic-based adaptation The Boys, showing what happens when supers get a bit too power-tripped. Karl Urban and the rest of the cast were on hand at SDCC to tease the bloodbath they have in store for those rogue "heroes."

The upcoming Amazon Prime series follows “The Boys,” a regular group of guys who set out to keep the spoiled, corrupt, god-like superheroes of the world in check. Along the way, they decide to take on the Justice League-esque group The Seven, as well as the massive corporate interests that keep them in power. Everything we’ve seen up to this point has promised a darkly comic, bloody and R-rated take on the concept — and the display at SDCC did not disappoint. Considering the comic was created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, we'd expect nothing less.

Panelists included Karl Urban, Jack Quaid, Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capon, Karen Fukuhara, Eric Kripke, Seth Rogen, Jessie T. Usher, and Elisabeth Shue. It was moderated by Aisha Tyler.

Rogen and Kripke also confirmed Season 2 is already in production, so fans can expect to see that in 2020. It was also revealed that Simon Pegg will have a supporting role in the first season.

"It started with wanting to take the piss out of the superhero genre a little bit, to turn it over on its head... As we went on, the more we realized it's the perfect show to describe the moment we're living in," Kripke said of the concept. "The show is really about what happens when you use celebrity to manipulate people, and use your power to make the common guy play against his own self-interests."

With the superheroes representing the powerful, untouchable forces of the world, Kripke said the boys are the natural, ragtag push back against the Powers That Be. As for what motivates these Average Joes to take on the most powerful beings in the world, they all have their reasons.

"[The Boys] are the blue collar 99 percent, and in one way or another they've been f**ked over ... as collateral damage not given a second thought," he said. "They've suffered personally either at the hands of Vought, or the superheroes, but what makes them different is they've decided to fight back against the 1 percent of the 1 percent."

Urban, who plays Butcher, says his character gets on this kick because he's out to take down Homelander, which leads him to manipulate other victims of the supers to put together this makeshift team.

"The thing that's driving Butcher is he's got an ax to grind. He's on a mission of justice, vengeance — he has a vendetta against Homelander for something he's done to him," he explained. "Billy finds this young kid who works in an audio visual store, and realizes something similar has happened to him, and he realizes it's the perfect opportunity to manipulate this kid to do something really dangerous to achieve his goal... It propels us on this fun, crazy, wacky journey with a whole lot of twists and turns." 

Chace Crawford, who plays the hero The Deep, said the role was something completely different than what he'd done before, teasing this particular hero is deeply insecure and not all that self-aware of his own privilege. Starr noted his hero, Homelander, takes some weird turns in his... Oedipal obsession with Elisabeth Shue's character Madelyn Stillwell. Yeah, this show takes some turns. Fukuhara offered up the tease that she'll be doing a lot more wire work in Season 2, so yeah, look for a bit more super-jumps in 2020. Alonso likened the ensemble to a "modern-day A-team, adding fans will really enjoy the comradery of the diverse cast.

The studio also showed off some footage, including an opening clip that establishes the world of these super heroes as they foil a bank robbery and save a pair of teenage boys caught in the crossfire. The effects look great, the action looks solid, and the tone looks like they're ready and willing to send up those cliched hero shots we've gotten so used to seeing. Another scene, focusing on a quieter moment, revealed Simon Pegg will have a supporting role in the series. A final scene showed Urban's Butcher in action, hilariously using the Spice Girls as an analogy to explain his plan to break up this superhero team.

Kripke also dug into the role music plays in building the world of The Boys, and realizing the soundtrack would be punk rock through and through: "It's about anarchy, and bringing down the establishment." He said they even went so far as to literally pick up old electric guitars and old amps and equipment to "garage band-up" the soundtrack.

Amazon has ordered eight episodes for the first season of The Boys. The series is set to premiere July 26.

Click here for SYFY WIRE's full coverage of San Diego Comic-Con 2019, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.