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Don’t trust ‘Authoritarians’: Eric Kripke

"I think people really get the message of beware anyone who says they're trying to save you because they're probably lying. I think the characters are dealing with really human universal things that I think just translate around the world," Kripke said in a virtual interview.

News Arena Network - Los Angeles - UPDATED: June 7, 2024, 11:35 PM - 6 mins read

'The Boys' creator Eric Kripke.

Don’t trust ‘Authoritarians’: Eric Kripke

'The Boys' creator Eric Kripke.


Authoritarians" are unfortunately a global phenomenon and perhaps why "The Boys" has appealed to audiences, says creator Eric Kripke whose show is set in a fantasy world but tackles real-life issues such as corruption and the consequences of unchecked power.

 

Beware of authoritarians! The message comes through loud and clear in the show, where superheroes, known as "Supes", are popular and idolised but, unlike the traditional depiction of them as all good, are corrupt, selfish to the core and morally compromised.

 

"I think people really get the message of beware anyone who says they're trying to save you because they're probably lying. I think the characters are dealing with really human universal things that I think just translate around the world," Kripke said in a virtual interview.

 

The satire, which redefines the superhero genre with its over-the-top violence and nudity, returns with its fourth season on June 13 on Prime Video.

 

"I find the reaction has been amazing and people, in India and everywhere, really get what we're trying to say. We're reacting a lot to US politics but I think the notion of authoritarians and 'Hey, maybe you shouldn't trust authoritarian so much' is sort of unfortunately a worldwide phenomenon," the creator said.

 

Based on The New York Times bestselling comic by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, "The Boys" follows the eponymous team of vigilantes, led by Bill Butcher (Karl Urban) as they combat super-powered individuals, especially the unhinged, egotistical and sadistic leader Homelander, played by Antony Starr.

 

Ever since its premiere on Prime Video in 2019, the show has received immense praise from critics and viewers for the way it tackles real world issues, including power, corruption, celebrity culture and the consequences of unchecked authority.

 

The fantasy genre, according to Kripke, allows storytellers to comment on reality and hold a mirror up to it.

 

"People can view it just with a little bit of separation and think about it in a different way.  In 'The Boys', we have a society that's completely fragmenting, but they're fragmenting in people who support Homelander and people who support Starlight (one of the few 'good' superheroes in the show).

 

"We take a real-world event, but we supify it (give it superhero treatment). We add in people who can shoot lasers from their eyes and fly, but otherwise, it's pretty much a real phenomenon," he said.

 

This way, the writers can talk about things in a "subversive way", Kripke, the brains behind the show, added.

 

"If I was just making a straight-ahead drama, I wouldn't be able to get away with it because it would be too earnest." The characters in "The Boys" come in all shades of greys -- such as Urban's Butcher, whose aim is to vanquish superheroes at any cost. He is the counterfoil to Starr's Homelander, a kind of prejudice-fuelled public figure who is also the epitome of greed, narcissism and corruption.

 

Despite their negative traits, Butcher and Homelander are the two most popular characters from the show with fans rooting for them each season.

Decoding the popularity of Butcher, Kripke said it comes from audiences' love for the vigilante genre.

 

"I think we're trying to deconstruct that a little bit and say that behind a vigilante is someone who is very broken. If you're an action hero, chances are that you're a pretty messed up dude in reality." But if someone believes that Homelander is a good guy, then Kripke has some advice for them.

 

"The people who seem to sympathise with Homelander, I don't know what to say to those people. This show is many things, and subtle is not one of them. If you genuinely think Homelander's the good guy, my only message would be to seek professional help," he said.

 

As far as the response to the show is concerned, Kripke said the team does "pay attention" to all kinds of reactions from fans.

 

"We pay attention. I mean, I'd be lying if I said I'm not on social media when the episodes air and sort of obsessively reading what people think. I've learned over the years to not try to obsess over the one person who really hates what you're doing. But when you find like 300 people all have the same problem, you start paying attention to that problem," he added.

 

Another element that makes "The Boys" stand apart from the rest of the movies and shows in the superhero space is the graphic violence.

 

According to Kripke, the violence and gore is mostly to make people realise what the reality would be if superheroes existed in society.

 

"A lot of this extreme violence to be fair came from the original comic books written by Garth Ennis. They're very, very graphic and to be honest, they make our show look conservative by comparison. They're insane and so part of it is that, and part of it is just the truth that if you had superpowers in the real world then you would be making a horrific mess of regular humans... We're trying to make that point as well."

 

"The Boys" also stars Jack Quaid, Erin Moriarty, Jessie T Usher, Laz Alonso, Chace Crawford, Tomer Capone, Karen Fukuhara, Colby Minifie, Claudia Doumit and Cameron Crovetti. Susan Heyward, Valorie Curry and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are the newcomers for the upcoming instalment.

 

The fourth season of the superhero series will premiere with its first three episodes on June 13, the rest will drop weekly. 

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