The Boys S4 trailer brings us more bloody mayhem and “Homelander on Ice”

The long-awaited fourth season of the Prime Video series, The Boys, premieres on June 13, 2024

Last summer’s Hollywood strikes delayed a number of releases, among them the fourth season of Prime Video’s The Boys. We’re longtime fans of this incredibly violent, darkly funny anti-homage to superheroes, and thus are thrilled to see there’s finally an official trailer for S4. It’s filled with the bloody mayhem we’ve come to expect from the show, as well as a tantalizing glimpse of the chief villain, Homelander (Antony Starr), performing in what appears to be an ice skating extravaganza.

(Spoilers for prior seasons below, especially S3.)

As I’ve written previously, the show is based on the comic book series of the same name by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. The Boys is set in a fictional universe where superheroes are real but are corrupted by corporate interests and a toxic celebrity-obsessed culture. The most elite superhero group is called the Seven, operated by the Vought Corporation, which created the supes with a substance called Compound V. The Seven is headed up by Homelander, a violent and unstable psychopath disguised as the All-American hero. Homelander’s counterpart as the head of the titular “Boys” is Billy Butcher (Karl Urban), a self-appointed vigilante intent on checking the bad behavior of the Seven—especially Homelander, who brutally raped Butcher’s wife, Becca (Shantel VanSanten), unknowingly fathering a son, Ryan, in the process..

Having discovered he had a son, Homelander turned Ryan against Butcher in S2, which ended with a bloody showdown that saw the demise of Becca as well as the mutilation of Homelander’s supe squeeze, Stormfront (Aya Cash), who turned out to be a Nazi disguised as a “patriot.” (She committed suicide in S3.) Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) and Starlight (Annie Moriarty) successfully blackmailed Homelander into loosening his bullying stranglehold on the Seven. Meanwhile, the government cleared the Boys of all wrongdoing after they were publicly smeared as terrorists. A disillusioned Hughie (Jack Quaid) decided to try to fight the Seven through politics rather than violence and went to work for Congressperson Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit)—but he didn’t know she’s actually a super-powered assassin with her own murderous agenda.

The third season introduced us to “Payback,” the name of an earlier Vought group of superheroes, loosely based on Marvel’s Avengers. Payback members include Eagle the Archer (Langston Kerman), who appeared in S2 of The Boys . He’s the one who recruited the Deep (Chace Crawford) and A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) to the Church of the Collective before the cult turned against him. By S3 he’d quit the superhero gig and was trying to become a rapper. We also met Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) and Crimson Countess (Laurie Holden), and an entire episode was devoted to one of the comic’s most shocking storylines: Herogasm, in which the Boys infiltrated Vought’s annual superhero party, which turned out to be just one long weekend of kinky sex and drug use on a secluded island.

The third season ended with Homelander killing one of Starlight’s supporters who attacked Ryan during a rally—and rather than being roundly condemned, the crowd cheered wildly, and Homelander realized just how few constraints there were on his psychopathic behavior. Soldier Boy (who turned out to be Homelander’s biological father) ended up in government custody, Maeve was presumed dead but actually just lost her powers, and Annie/Starlight left the Seven to join forces with The Boys. As for Butcher, he had been juicing with V24, a version of Compound V that temporarily gave humans super powers—at a price. By season’s end, Butcher realized he was dying.

That brings us to the fourth season. Per the official premise:

The world is on the brink. Victoria Neuman is closer than ever to the Oval Office and under the muscly thumb of Homelander, who is consolidating his power. Butcher, with only months to live, has lost Becca’s son and his job as The Boys’ leader. The rest of the team are fed up with his lies. With the stakes higher than ever, they have to find a way to work together and save the world before it’s too late.

The trailer opens with a presumably doomed Butcher doing some soul-searching about how he’s lived his life. “All I see are the messes I’ve made,” he says while we’re shown the scene where Ryan leaves with a smirking Homelander. “And I ain’t got time to fix it.”  He figures he has a chance to do one thing right but he needs The Boys’ help to succeed.

Meanwhile, Homelander is flaunting his power, insisting that the country “is corrupt beyond repair.” His plans for the country’s “salvation” naturally involve violence: doing terrible things “for the greater good.” So the Seven must now stop being beloved celebrities and instead become “wrathful gods.” Not everyone is on board with Homelander’s strategy, notably A-Train and Ashley Barrett (Colby Minifie), but there’s not much they can do to stop the Supes from rounding up any recalcitrant humans and putting them in camps—or declaring “hunting season on Starlighters.”

Humanity’s only hope appears to rest in Butcher’s discovery of a virus that can kill Supes, first introduced in the spinoff series, Gen V. But first they’ll have to fight off violent superpowered chickens and livestock that have been injected with Compound V—and somehow avoid turning into the very evil they’re trying to defeat.

The first three episodes of The Boys S4 premieres on June 13, 2024, on Prime Video, with subsequent episodes airing each week until the finale on July 18, 2024.


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