Prior to Amazon’s not-suitable-for-kids superhero series The Boys, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg adapted another graphic comic book series by the name of Preacher. Both came from a common bond the pair had in high school over Garth Ennis comics.
“It spoke to us because they were comics for adults,” Goldberg said during Deadline’s virtual Contenders Television event. “It was nice to read something that was familiar to us but took us to a place that we’d never been before.”
The Boys follows a group of superheroes in a world where they embrace the darker side of their celebrity and fame. It’s gritty, violent, bonkers, bloody, dirty and certainly not for the kids. Rogen, Goldberg and show creator Erik Kripke saw potential in the storytelling and characters to explore deeper themes — many of which are relevant today.
For one, Kripke wanted to make the adaptation accessible to more audiences, adding more of a female presence to offset the series title. “The comics are very male-skewing and a lot of the female characters don’t have quite as much to do in the comics. The mantra of the show has always been how to make it the most realistic superhero show we possibly can. The truth is that there are a lot of women in positions of power in 2019 and 2020.”
He mentions how they gender-flipped the character of Stillwell, who is played by Elisabeth Shue, and have fleshed out the characters of Starlight (Erin Moriarty) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara).
Rogen said The Boys realistically examines what would probably happen to the psyches of people who had unlimited powers. When they were putting the show together they talked about celebrity culture and how, even in our world, people who don’t have superpowers have “access and privileges that the average person doesn’t have.”
He laughs, “Take it from me, I know a lot of them [and] I am one — celebrities are insane. If they could fly, they would be a thousand times worse.”
Kripke chimes in, “When Garth wrote the comic 10-15 years ago, he was always interested in what would happen if you combine celebrity with politics and how bad it would f*ck over the regular guy.” He adds, “That was a time when George W. [Bush] was in the White House. Now you look at the world we’re living in and how celebrity and politics is so blurred and these superheroes are standing in as a sort a representation of what happens when you combine the worst of celebrity and the worst of politics.”
“It really works as a satire of the exact second of what we’re living in right now — and that’s been a blast to write for.”
Check out the panel video above.