EXCLUSIVE: Amazon has greenlighted superhero drama The Boys to series with an eight-episode order. Based on the comic book by Garth Ennis (Preacher) and Darick Robertson, it was created by Supernatural creator and Timeless co-creator Eric Kripke and will be directed by the Preacher duo of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen. The project hails from Sony Pictures TV Studios, which will co-produce with Amazon, and Neal H. Moritz’s studio-based Original Films.

The Boys marks the first green light since the recent executive shakeup at Amazon Studios, which led to the exits of head Roy Price and head of comedy and drama Joe Lewis. The Boys, which had been in development at Amazon for several months, is part of the company’s push into genre programming, spearheaded by Sharon Tal Yguado, who is now Head of Scripted Series for Amazon Studios. It is the first series order under that programming initiative and also is part of Amazon’s recent shift toward more straight-to-series orders and fewer pilots.

The Boys reteams the key auspices behind AMC’s Preacher, which also hails from Goldberg, Rogen and their Point Grey Pictures, Sony TV and Original Films and also is based on a comic co-created/written by Ennis.

Seth Rogen Evan Goldberg
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Like with Preacher, which had gone though numerous TV and feature incarnations over 16 years until it was finally made by AMC, The Boys also has had a long development history. Over the past nine years, it had been in the works as a movie at Columbia Pictures and Paramount. The TV series adaptation from Kripke, Goldberg, Rogen, Original Film and Sony TV originally was set up for development at Cinemax last year. The Boys comic, which like Preacher pushes the envelope on violent content, ran for 72 issues from 2008-12, published initially by Wildstorm (#1-6) and then by Dynamite Entertainment.

In a world where superheroes embrace the darker side of their massive celebrity and fame, The Boys revolves around a group of vigilantes known informally as “the boys,” who set out to take down corrupt superheroes with no more than blue-collar grit and a willingness to fight dirty.

“In a landscape saturated with superhero shows, The Boys is the next evolution in this popular genre,” said Sharon Tal Yguado. “With Eric, Evan, Seth and Original Film all behind this series, we are excited to adapt this popular comic, from the visionary minds of Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, for television.”

Neal Moritz
Rex/Shutterstock

The Boys will be executive produced by Kripke, who also will serve as showrunner, Goldberg, Rogen, Original Film’s Neal H. Moritz, Ori Marmur (Preacher) and Pavun Shetty, as well as Jason Netter, Ken Levin and Point Grey Pictures’ James Weaver (Preacher). Ennis and Robertson will co-executive produce. The series is slated to begin filming in the spring of 2018 for a 2019 release.

“We are very happy to have the unique opportunity to produce a second series based on the subversive and innovative world of Garth Ennis,” says Chris Parnell, Co-President of Sony Pictures Television Studios. “And we are thankful to Sharon and her team at Amazon for their vision, partnership, and support.”

Amazon had made genre development a priority since bringing in Yguado in January. In pursuing its new goal of launching the next big genre drama hit of the size of Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Stranger Things, Amazon has been signing overall deals with auspices from these series, including The Walking Dead executive producer Robert Kirkman, on whose graphic novel the blockbuster AMC zombie drama was based, and Justin Doble, writer-producer on the Netflix horror/sci-fi phenom Stranger Things.

Amazon, which recently cleared the decks by canceling series that had failed to break out in their first season, including Z: The Beginning Of Everything and The Last Tycoon, also has been pursuing a Lord Of the Rings TV series and has put a slew of genre dramas in development, including Lazarus, Snow Crash and Ringworld.

At Amazon, Sony TV also has series Sneaky Pete, The Tick and the upcoming Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams.