April 6-7, 2024
Despite claims to the contrary, superhero movies are nothing new and have been around long before Robert Downey Jr. strapped on his Iron Man armour in 2008 and helped kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And while James Gunn might be busy putting his spin on DC’s Man of Steel with David Corenswet, Superman made his live-action debut played by Kirk Alyn in the 1941 movie serial, and film historians often credit the 1916 French serial Judex as the first-ever live-action superhero movie.
Yet among the superhero genre’s incredibly rich history, few properties have had the razor-sharp wit and blatant shock value as Prime Video’s The Boys. Based on the comics created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson, both The Boys and its 2023 spinoff series Gen V, have somehow moved beyond simple satire and have become some of the most beloved additions to a storytelling tradition they initially set out to parody.
However, while The Boys regularly proves that there are few lines it is unwilling to cross, it is still yet to make the leap from streaming television and go head-to-head with some of the biggest franchises at the box office. With The Boys stars Giancarlo Esposito and Karen Fukuhara set to make their way down under for Supanova in Melbourne (6-7 April) and Supanova on the Gold Coast (13-14 April), we thought it might be timely to explore the potential of the franchise making the leap to the big screen and ponder what The Boys movie could possibly look like.
The earliest plans to adapt Ennis and Robertson’s The Boys comics predate Prime Video’s 2019 season 1 release by more than a decade. Shortly after the comic’s initial 2006 debut, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy director Adam McKay attempted to pitch his take on the material, however, found most studios were reluctant to take on the edgy, R-rated nature of the project and his planned spin on it.
Eventually, Columbia Pictures was the first to take a gamble on adapting The Boys as a feature film, however, McKay would later depart the project due to creative differences with the studio, and the property languished in development hell. In 2012 Paramount made their attempts to revive the project, though in 2016 the US cable network Cinemax announced they were doing their own television adaptation, and Preacher executive producers Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen were tapped to helm the project.
Goldberg and Rogen would later go on to recruit Supernatural creator and massive Garth Ennis fan Eric Kripke as the showrunner, and The Boys series just had one last hurdle to overcome. Unfortunately, Cinemax had to let the project go due to budgetary issues, but Amazon would later step in to pick up the rights and quickly greenlit an eight-episode season 1, making history in the process.
While some commentators might be quick to suggest that the box office struggles experienced by so many recent movies potentially marks the end of superhero movies, perhaps what is really needed is a new contender with enough popular appeal to challenge the supremacy of the current franchise duopoly dominating theatres. Even though there is no shortage of movies based on smaller, independent comics like the upcoming reboot of The Crow, few have the expansive premise that could sustain an ongoing cinematic universe like The Boys.
Not only was Amazon able to prove that Gen V could be just as popular and well received as the show that helped inspire it, but they already have plans for a second live-action spin-off in the form of the recently announced The Boys: Mexico series being helmed by Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal. With The Boys franchise already expanding to establish a complex and rich interconnected television universe, Amazon may very well want to look at taking the next logical step and bring the property onto the big screen.
No stranger to having his shows run for far longer than he could have ever anticipated, Eric Kripke has previously stated that while he originally set out with a five-season plan for The Boys, he fully expected those plans to change later down the line. Eventually, however, whether after five or fifteen seasons, The Boys will need to conclude one way or another.
When that time finally comes, there is probably no better way for the series to not only wrap up its storylines, but also weave together the threads established in its various spin-off shows, via a big-budget event movie. Channeling the kind of highly anticipated cross-over event that led the MCU toward Avengers: Endgame, there would be no more fitting end to the current incarnation of The Boys than seeing Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher and Antony Starr’s Homelander duke it out on the silver screen. When all is said and done, and the dust finally settles, The Boys franchise can then look toward a new future with a younger generation of characters taking over the reins.
Whether such a movie will ever happen remains to be seen, but we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed we’ll get to see Homelander and other characters from The Boys at our local cinema at some point in the not-too-distant future.
In the meantime, don’t miss your chance to speak with former Vought CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) and the mysterious Kimiko Miyashiro (Karen Fukuhara) at Supanova in Melbourne (6-7 April) and Supanova on the Gold Coast (13-14 April).