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The One Hero Who Was Never Supposed To Be On The Boys

Amazon's dark superhero series The Boys adheres fairly closely to the Garth Ennis comic books on which it's based, but it has never been afraid to deviate from its source material to create stories that make sense for the show's characters. In the past, that meant making Compound V a secret rather than common knowledge and gender-swapping characters like Stormfront and Stillwell. Early on, series creator Eric Kripke went rogue and invented a hero that was never supposed to be on The Boys at all — but his reason behind adding a wholly original character to the Seven makes so much sense.

The Boys introduces viewers to the Seven, a Justice League-style group of corrupt heroes, in the very first episode of the show. The fame-seeking heroes are almost entirely pulled from the pages of the comics: Homelander, Queen Maeve, The Deep, A-Train, Black Noir, and Starlight are all key members of the team on the show and in the comics. Then there's Translucent, the invisible, bathroom-lurking member of the Seven who ends up being the first person Hughie kills, and who doesn't have a comic book counterpart at all. Instead, he's a product of Kripke's desire to change one key element from the comic books to create a more cohesive central storyline for the show.

Which member of the Seven was replaced by Translucent on The Boys?

In the comics, the Seven includes a hero known as Jack from Jupiter who is, in fact, an extraterrestrial. Like most of the heroes in this universe, Jack doesn't have much interest in actually saving people. Instead, he's a fame-obsessed hedonist with little clout among his teammates.

Jack does possess some fun superpowers, including the ability to fly and to become invincible when he says the word "Carpo." That's about the extent of his abilities, however, making him fairly unimpressive for an alien. While Jack from Jupiter isn't present on the show, he does have a DC comics counterpart — he's considered by fans to be a riff on the Martian Manhunter character. Overall, the character's absence isn't a big loss for The Boys. In the comics, he's killed by Butcher for allegedly killing his dog, Terror, and his death doesn't have much of an impact since he's not particularly beloved by his teammates.

Eric Kripke cut Jack from Jupiter from The Boys to keep the story as grounded as possible

Okay, so The Boys isn't exactly a documentary, but Kripke has gone to great lengths to ensure the show doesn't take an anything-goes approach to fantastical storytelling. Instead, the series creator has focused on the idea that all superheroes are made, not born. Jack's mere existence would force the show's central thesis statement to be tossed out of the window.

Kripke said as much in a 2019 Reddit AMA with fans. When asked about the decision to replace Jack with the entirely new character of Translucent, Kripke said, "We're trying to make the show as grounded as possible — and the story to the public is that people were suddenly and spontaneously born with these powers (That's not the truth of course, but Vought is pitching a Mutant like mythology to the public). To say one of their heroes is an alien kinda kills that myth. Jack always felt too fantastic for the world we were trying to create."

He went on to elaborate further in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, in which he shared that eliminating fantastical characters like Jack allowed the show to stay focused on the larger story of corruption that produced the "heroes" of the world in the first place. "To me, all the best science fiction, fantasy is 90 percent reality. That's a Rod Serling," Kripke said. "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 superpowers, 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."

So, who does Hughie kill in The Boys comics then?

The first time Hughie kills a supe is a big deal in the comics and on the show. In season 1, Hughie is haunted by the fact that he blew up Translucent. It marks a point of no return for him in terms of leaving his old life behind to join Butcher and the rest of the Boys, while also demonstrating just how different he and Butcher really are. Hughie feels the weight of taking another person's life in a way that his mentor just doesn't.

Ennis' comic book series is arguably darker than the show, and it certainly features a fair amount of gratuitous violence, but the comics don't gloss over the fact that taking a life leaves Hughie carrying around a huge amount of regret. The major difference is, in the comics, Hughie kills a teenage supe called Blarney C***, and it's an accident. In the comics, the Boys shoot up with Compound V to level the playing field between them and the supes, and the first time Hughie takes the drug, he doesn't fully understand his strength, which leads to him punching a hole through the teen's chest.

While Translucent was never supposed to be a member of the Seven, his addition to the show not only allowed Kripke to streamline the story's plot, but it also led to an arguably more powerful moment in Hughie's journey. After all, he has a choice whether or not he's going to kill Translucent, and the choice he makes continues to inform how his character is moving forward in a way that an accidental death never could have.