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How Madelyn Stillwell From The Boys Should Have Really Looked

Over the course of its two seasons, the Amazon Prime series The Boys has garnered a lot of fans with its look at a world where superheroes are commercialized and their crimes covered up. However, before the show ever made it to air, it was a graphic novel series written by Garth Ennis, who is also known for writing for cult favorite characters such as John Constantine and the Punisher, as well as also creating the graphic novel series Preacher.

One of the major characters in the show's first season is Madelyn Stillwell. Played by Elisabeth Shue, she is one of the few people not intimidated by The Seven, the superhero group in the employ of Vought. As the person responsible for managing the group in the first season, she's a key character in the narrative for many reasons, particularly when it comes to her relationship with Homelander (Antony Starr). 

However, in the process of adapting the story from page to screen, the show made a number of changes, including to the character of Stillwell ... who, by the way, isn't even named Madelyn in the comics. If the show had been a strictly faithful adaptation, the character would have looked quite different.

Stillwell is a very different character in the comics

In the comics, the character is a man by the name of James Stillwell, who is effectively the leader of Vought-American, even though he's not officially the CEO. James is a key figure in the comics: he's a ruthless sociopath who does whatever's necessary to keep the company going. This leads not only to James committing horrific crimes such as killing children and setting up his protégé to take the fall for his actions, but it also makes him unafraid of the Supes and their abilities. James even calmly stares down Homelander as the latter is set to kill him, causing Homelander to back off instead.

In the series, Madelyn Stillwell is ruthless in her own way, blackmailing politicians into voting in Vought's favour and forcing Starlight (Erin Moriarty) to wear a skimpier costume as her profile rises. She's also shown as the only one who is able to handle Homelander: the relationship between the two certainly raises some eyebrows, even before it turns sexual, as Homelander watches Madelyn through walls, and Madelyn rests Homelander's head in her lap and calls him her "good boy." However, Madelyn doesn't make it out of the first season, as Homelander kills her himself while she's being held hostage by Butcher. This is an especially notable departure from the character in the comics, who survives to the final issue.

Another notable change from the comics is the character of CEO Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito), who is a non-entity in the graphic novels, but a major player in the show. Like James, Edgar has shown himself to be unafraid of Homelander, so it remains to be seen whether any other aspects of James show up in Edgar when The Boys returns for its third season.