The Boys stars tease an 'insane' season 2: 'No one is ready'
Remember Chace Crawford's botched dolphin rescue as the Deep in The Boys season 1? Well, in season 2 of Amazon’s blood-drenched superhero satire, there’s a similar aquatic adventure, only this time it involves a whale. That’s all we can say for now about why the show’s titular group of underground vigilantes who fight their darnedest against a corrupt super-human team of Justice League wannabes, are covered in guts in EW's new peek at what's coming.
“We have gone so much further,” Jack Quaid, a.k.a. “Wee” Hughie, says on the set of season 2 back in October. “No one is ready. Really. No one. I have done things this season I will never forget, [things] I’ve never done in my career and probably will not in the future. We just go above and beyond in terms of insane, jockeying moments."
The Boys—including Mother’s Milk (Laz Alonso), Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara), and Frenchie (Tomer Capon)—are now fugitives. After escaping capture by a special-ops group, their new headquarters are the basement of a "cash for gold" joint run by a local gang. Their leader, Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), who’s been framed for the murder of Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue), is nowhere to be found.
"It's a bit of a mystery," says Urban, 48, on his whereabouts. (The audience can probably guess a thing or two by the season 1 finale.) "The Boys are on the back foot and spend a lot of their time trying to make an impact and get traction for taking down the Supes. Just because they're wanted and in hiding doesn't mean they're gonna stop doing what they do. So, the objective is still fundamentally the same."
The group “had somewhat of a loss last season, and I think they’re just trying to get their footing again,” Quaid, 28, explains. “We have some new players in the game who really make our situation a whole lot worse for the world"—one of them being Aya Cash as newly minted member of the Seven, Stormfront—"and we have to be there in secret to take ’em down.”
With all these new changes, this lot will never be the same, including the relationship between Billy and Hughie. In the beginning, both bonded over what they thought was a common loss by a common threat, but then certain things came to light at the end of last season. When Billy is finally no longer M.I.A. from the group, things are "very strained" with his vigilante apprentice, says Quaid. "That's a very fraught relationship full of a lot of tension, but that's one of the things that has been the best parts of the season for me: exploring the Butcher-Hughie relationship with Karl. I feel like we've been able to deepen it in ways I don't think fans will expect. I was really satisfied specifically with that aspect of my character this season."
"If Hughie in season 1 was about anxiety," he adds, "this one, to me, is about depression—even though he's still the same old nervous Hughie that we love."
For Billy, Urban notes season 2 "is really about humanizing the character and exploring different dynamics."
"There's the monster, the violent psychopath, the killer, but there's also the more compassionate side, the more humanistic side of Billy... There are really some wonderful, unlikely relationships that are formed," he says. "Billy thinks the only good Supe is a dead Supe, and this season is really a season about growth. He's coming to understand that things aren't that black and white, there's a certain shade of grey. He's coming to understand that there is a benefit that comes with tolerance and being able to see that if he can use an asset, even if it's a Supe, to achieve his goal, then he's got to do it."
Filming of season 2 had already kicked off in Toronto when the series debuted in July 2019. So this ambitious storytelling isn’t about showrunner Eric Kripke (Supernatural) looking to one-up himself. Instead, Urban echoes Quaid in promising, “We’re gonna take these characters deeper, push them further.”
The crew’s new addition will absolutely push Team Boys out of their comfort zone, and his name is Terror. In the comics, Billy's pet pooch is “known as being a particularly horny dog,” Quaid explains. On the show, he’ll come out of retirement for an episode to, among other things, hump a pig. His attack word? “Boner.” “Not a real pig!” Quaid promises. “A stuffed pig.”
There’s an even funnier story that goes along with that. “I had to be the one to give [Terror] the pig that he humps,” the actor recalls. “The trainers could not be in the room, so they left me with the responsibility of telling the command to the dog. And it didn’t work right away. It was just me in a room on camera going, ‘Boner! Boner!’" We hope that pig has a safe word.
Season 2 of The Boys debuts on Sept. 4.