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Why Comics Fans Will Be Shocked By Soldier Boy In The Boys Season 3

After a season spent battling actual Nazi Stormfront, season 3 of The Boys is introducing a character that sounds downright wholesome by comparison: Soldier Boy, who is widely considered to be the original superhero within the show's universe. Fans who have read the comics are likely expecting a pitiful Captain America knockoff who will easily be duped by the Boys and the Seven, alike. In a post-season 2 interview with Variety, however, showrunner Eric Kripke revealed that comic book fans are in for a surprise when they finally meet the oft-mentioned Soldier Boy — as are Supernatural fans who might be expecting Jensen Ackles to play a good guy in the vein of Dean Winchester.

Characters have been name-dropping Soldier Boy since The Boys began, and in the season 2 premiere, Mr. Edgar suggested that the supe was key in getting Frederick Vought a pardon after he killed "Germans by the dozen" during World War II. It certainly sounds like Soldier Boy is a less corrupt hero, but according to Kripke, Ackles' character is going to shock everyone, while also opening the door for The Boys to delve into the history of supes and the original group of heroes, Payback.

The comic book version of Soldier Boy is being traded in for a much darker character in The Boys season 3

In his interview with Variety, Kripke acknowledged that the Soldier Boy of the comics is "bumbling and subservient to Homelander," but he wanted to go in a different direction. "I think anyone expecting Jensen to show up and be a good guy, they will be disappointed ... " he said. "As we're writing him in this, we're getting to really talk about the history of Vought because he's like John Wayne: He's one of these guys that's been around for decades of Vought history. And he was Homelander before Homelander, so he's from a different era, but he's got the ego and the ambition — it just comes across in a different way because he's from a different time."

Kripke's word choice provides a major tip-off about why this Soldier Boy sounds so unlike the version from the comics. Given that the showrunner is emphasizing that the character is from another era, it would track that Ackles is playing the original Soldier Boy. In the comics, Soldier Boy is a legacy character for Vought, and the name is passed from one hero to the next.

As a result, the character who is easily pushed around by Homelander within the pages of the comics is not the OG supe, but the show's version of Soldier Boy is the same Nazi killing machine that paved the way for Vought to become the most powerful company in the world.

How will the WWII-era Soldier Boy play a role in season 3 if he's (presumably) dead?

Here's where things get really interesting: During Stormfront's big rally in season 2, a statue of Soldier Boy is seen in the background, and according to its plaque, the supe was born in 1910 and died in 1982. Now, Stormfront is proof that some heroes age more slowly than others, so it's possible that Vought simply helped him drop out of the spotlight. But it seems just as likely that Kripke is planning on incorporating flashbacks to the Payback era of supes in season 3.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Kripke shared that season 3 would be delving into America's history as seen through the lens of Vought. "One of the reasons that we're getting into Soldier Boy [in season 3] and that team, Payback, is we're interested in exploring a little bit of how we got here," he said. "Through the history of the supes, we can tell a little bit about the history of America and how we ended up in the current fraught position that we're in. Soldier Boy gives us an opportunity to do that."

It's still not clear exactly how Soldier Boy and the rest of the classic Payback crew will fit into The Boys' season 3 narrative, but one thing is certain: The sad, modern Soldier Boy of the comics won't be making his way to the show's universe any time soon.