Amazon's The Boys may bring to life the comic book series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, but with the first season now out many fans may have noticed some interesting and significant differences between the television series and the source material. A relatively small element of the comics is a major part of the show's first season arc and one character of significance in the comics doesn't appear at all in the series. They're big differences, but according to the series' showrunner Eric Kripke, those changes from a specific rule he uses to guide the show.
"To me, all the best science fiction, fantasy is 90 percent reality. That's a Rod Serling," Kripke told Entertainment Weekly. "I always say the only magic that you're allowed in the show is this vaccine called Compound V and it happens to give people unpredictable superheroes and that’s all you get.... Anything that comes out of this drug is viable, and anything that doesn't we're not allowed to do, and that's a good way to maintain a certain amount of discipline.
That explains the changes regarding Compound V, but what about Jack from Jupiter? In comics, Jack from Jupiter is a play on Martian Manhunter, with the character supposedly being an extraterrestrial and a member of the Seven. However, on the show he's replaced by Translucent, something that Kripke explained also came from a rule.
"No gods from mythology, no aliens from other planets," Kripke said. "It's only humans who suddenly found themselves with these extraordinary abilities."
But while those rules dictated certain changes from source to screen, there were other elements of the story that shifted for the series, including a significant sexual assault that ended up taking on a bit of a different tone in the wake of the #MeToo movement.
Kripke initially leaned toward avoiding the Starlight sexual assault subplot entirely, when coming up with the storyline, but his writing staff wouldn't let him off the hook that easily. As he tells EW, "This was my female writers and producers saying, ‘This is something that happens, we think it’s important to talk about....'" which ultimately led to Kripke's decision to do “a serious and scary version of that story.”
The first revision saw something similar to what we got in the pilot, only tamer. It involved Starlight's subplot with Aquaman/Namor parody "The Deep" (Chace Crawford), serving as a mirror for actresses trying to work in a toxic male Hollywood environment and having little defense against assault or harassment. But when the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in late 2017, the massive shift in social discourse forced Kripke to rethink this pivotal scene all over again:
"Originally, Starlight was going to deal with this assault and then she really had no recourse except to take on the Deep directly," Kripke recalls. "She was going to stand up and go after him because we weren’t living in a society where women were being believed when they speak out."0comments
But after the Weinstein scandal and the rise of the #MeToo movement, “Suddenly, you could speak, and you could actually bring a really powerful motherf— down," Kripke says. "Instead of a story happening behind closed doors like everything had been, suddenly it was a story [Starlight] was speaking out about, and [the Deep] was suffering publicly as a result."
The Boys is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.