Aya Cash and The Boys boss unpack that shocker of a Stormfront reveal
There's more to Stormfront than her social media following.
Warning: Spoilers from episodes 1-3 of The Boys season 2 are discussed in this article.
After all the mystery surrounding the introduction of Aya Cash as a gender-swapped Stormfront for The Boys' second season, we now officially know that she has a lot in common with the original comics character. A little too much in common.
Stormfront arrived in the first of three new episodes (now on Amazon Prime Video) as a replacement for Translucent in the Seven. She appears to be a staunch feminist with a massive social media following who isn't afraid to speak her mind when it comes to situations like misogynist questions from reporters. But by the end of episode 3, she finally reveals her true colors.
The Boys — Billy (Karl Urban), Hughie (Jack Quaid), Mother's Milk (Laz Alonso), Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara), and Frenchie (Tomer Capone) — attempt to evade capture by the Seven on a speedboat, which goes awry and places Kimiko and her newly reunited super-powered brother in the path of Stormfront. She's the first of the Seven to catch up to the siblings, so no one is really around to watch as she chases them through an apartment complex — killing every single Black resident and person of color that she sees with her electrical plasma powers. When she finally gets her hands on Kimiko's brother, she calls him a "f—ing yellow bastard" before snapping his neck as his sister watches helplessly.
Back in October 2019, as the season 2 team finished up filming, Cash spoke about being a Jewish actress taking on such a role.
"I knew going in it was definitely a question. I knew in the comics that [Stormfront] was a male, he had been a part of Nazi youth and that was a big part of the character, and that I was going to play a bad guy with a capital B," she told EW. "My agents actually were like, 'You need to figure out if this is something you wanna do.' It didn’t concern me, not because I don’t think there needs to be a sensitive conversation around it, but simply because I think the only reason people are nervous or skittish about this is because it feels so real versus the bad guy who lets the plane with all the children [go down] — which is also a character on this show and nobody seems to ask that question 'are you worried about being that kind of bad guy?'"
What put her more at ease to take on Stormfront were her conversations with showrunner Eric Kripke. "We had a meeting before I auditioned. I basically said, 'I would do this job as long as the showrunner is smarter than me,'" she recalled. "We sat down and we talked. He knows what he’s talking about. We can have a dialogue about extremism and about racism and it’s gonna be done in a way that both honors what is true in that and also has some fun with it because this is a satire. This is something that turns things on its head."
Part of the writers' take on Stormfront for the show, compared to the comics, came from "classic screenwriting math," Kripke tells EW over Zoom. "Which is you can’t present a character that is exactly who they appear to be." Stormfront from the comics, created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, had a much smaller role as part of a superhero team called Payback. "But we knew the character needed to be a main character," he continues. "You almost always play a game as a screenwriter, which is [asking] 'OK, who are they really? Well, then our first impression of them is going to be the opposite of that.' We need her to not seem like a racist piece of sh— so then it’s a surprise that she is."
Another part, as far as gender-swapping the role, was the idea of introducing a female figure to the Seven who has no fear of Homelander (Antony Starr). That would be "his worst nightmare," Kripke says. But then the writers room took further inspiration from alt-right trolls on social media and platforms like Reddit. For better or worse, they all fell down "a lot of white supremacist rabbit holes," which Kripke called "horrific."
"So many of them are couched in new media, specifically reaching out to young people and gamers," he says. "The videos are like these cute girls who are saying the most hateful sh— but they are young and their noses are pierced. ‘Be a free thinker!’ They put on a new set of clothes but it’s the same hateful sh— that people have been saying for a thousand years... We wanted to recreate that experience for the audience, that the monsters are not wearing 1960s crewcuts. They are attractive and they’re savvy and you have to be aware of that."
Other characters who were members of Payback in the comics also make an appearance in the first few season 2 episodes or are directly referenced. Aside from Stormfront, Eagle the Archer arrives on the scene as a member of the Church of the Collective who's trying to recruit The Deep (Chase Crawford) into their Fresca-loving, Scientology-esque organization. Ashley (Colby Minifie), stepping in as Vought's replacement for Madelyn Stillwell (Elisabeth Shue), also mentions a Tek Knight movie premiere. Mr. Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), the head of Vought, then regales Homelander in private about the history of their company, which includes Soldier Boy "killing Germans by the dozens" during World War II. (Supernatural star Jensen Ackles will debut as Soldier Boy in season 3, which was announced in July.)
"Some of that comes into season 3, but a lot of those will be paid off as the show goes on," Kripke teases. "The show’s a whole world and there are characters that we’ll be introducing in season 3 that might not come out for a couple years"—because of filming complications in light of COVID-19—"but will."
Moving forward, new episodes of The Boys will arrive every week on Fridays on Amazon Prime Video.
The Boys (TV Series)