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Homelander

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Homelander
The Boys character
Homelander as depicted in the comic book series (left) and the television series portrayed by Antony Starr (right)
First appearance
Last appearance
Created by
Based on
Adapted byEric Kripke
Portrayed byAntony Starr
Rowan Smyth (child)
Voiced byAntony Starr (Diabolical, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II)
Yong Yea (Death Battle!)
Jake Green (Mortal Kombat 1)
In-universe information
SpeciesSupe
AffiliationVought-American

The Homelander (John Gillman)[1][2] is a fictional character in the comic book series The Boys and the media franchise of the same name, created by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson. The character is depicted as a psychopathic and sadistic narcissist who serves as the extremely powerful leader of The Seven—a group of corrupt and hedonistic superheroes grown and funded by Vought-American—and the archenemy of Billy Butcher. Beneath his public image as a noble and altruistic hero, the Homelander cares little about the well-being of those he professes to protect.

In the Amazon Prime Video television adaptation developed by Eric Kripke, Homelander is portrayed by Antony Starr. This version is the megalomaniacal son of Soldier Boy and the father of Ryan, born as a result of Homelander raping Billy Butcher's wife Becca (a crime commited by Black Noir in the comic book series). Homelander has also appeared in the spin-off and promotional web series The Boys Presents: Diabolical and Death Battle!, respectively. Described as the living personification of how the world sees America,[3][4] the character has received critical acclaim along with Starr's portrayal in the series.[5][6] Homelander has been compared to Superman and Captain America.[7][8][9][10]

Appearances[edit]

Comic book series[edit]

The Homelander is a patriotic superhero who leads the superhero team, The Seven, and the most powerful superhuman created by Vought-American. The company's cover story for the Homelander is that he is an alien who landed in the United States as an infant, much like Superman. In reality, he was grown in a secret laboratory, the progeny of genetic material taken from Stormfront, who was injected with Compound V while still a member of the Hitler Youth. Homelander spent most of his young life chained down with a hydrogen bomb strapped to him in case he tried to escape. His mother was a mentally disabled woman who died giving birth to him.

Homelander remains under the financial thumb of V, as their money funds the Seven's hedonistic lifestyle. Homelander eventually tries to encourage the other superheroes to do what they want, but relents due to his fear of his boss "The Vought Guy"/"The Guy From Vought".

Until the events of the series' climax, Billy Butcher is tricked into thinking Homelander had raped his wife Becky, who then died giving birth to a superhuman baby Butcher had then killed. In Issue #40, the Boys receive a series of incriminating doctored photos seemingly showing Homelander engaging in grisly acts of murder, cannibalism, and necrophilia against men, women, and children. In private, Homelander shows signs of suffering a mental breakdown, talking to his own reflection in a mirror, and having bouts of nausea. He eventually decides that he is damned anyway for the acts depicted in the photos, and decides to give in to any intrusive thoughts that cross his mind.

From Herogasm onward, Homelander resolves to free himself and the superhero community from Vought-American's control. In Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men, he leads the other superheroes in a coup d'etat against the United States, launching an attack on the White House and killing everyone inside, including the President. During the subsequent confrontation between Homelander and Butcher, the masked Black Noir arrives in the Oval Office and reveals himself as a clone of Homelander, created solely to kill Homelander if he ever went rogue. Gradually driven insane due to not being allowed to kill Homelander, Noir reveals he committed the atrocities in the photos, including raping Butcher's wife, to trick the initially truly benevolent Homelander so that Noir would finally be allowed to fulfill his purpose. Outraged, Homelander attacks Black Noir. The remainder of their fight takes place off-panel, with a greatly injured Noir reappearing several pages later holding the headless remains of Homelander's torso, before being killed himself by Billy Butcher.

Television series[edit]

The Boys (2019–present)[edit]

In the television adaptation, Antony Starr plays Homelander. As interpreted within the television series, he is considered by some reviewers to be analogous to DC's Superman.[7][8] Grown from the DNA samples taken from Soldier Boy's semen by Jonah Vogelbaum and having been reared in a laboratory environment to become Homelander, John Gillman displays many sociopathic tendencies and is openly contemptuous of those he considers lesser beings.

He is also highly self-righteous, delusional, possessive, paranoid, vindictive, insecure, insensitive, hypocritical, reckless with his powers, and incapable of accepting the possibility of any flaw in his person or decision-making. Unlike in the comic series, Homelander rapes Butcher's wife after she has been assigned as his assistant. However, he left her alive and, though he was unaware of it until the end of the season, pregnant with his son, Ryan. His discovery of the lies surrounding Ryan's existence influences his decision to maim the scientist responsible for his upbringing, Jonah Vogelbaum, and murder Madelyn Stillwell. However, his emotional incompetence and sociopathic traits initially alienate him from his son, and the loss of Stillwell's moderating influence on his behavior unbalances him further. He enters a sexual relationship with Stormfront, despite a difficult beginning, and conspires with her to remove his son from Becca's care and turn the public against "supervillains," creating public outcry for the creation of more superheroes. Stormfront is critically injured by Homelander's son Ryan and Maeve blackmails Homelander into letting the boy go and leaving her alone.

In a series of television interviews, he is forced to denounce his relationship with Stormfront and apologize for his actions. Partly to moderate Homelander's behavior, CEO Stan Edgar and Vought's board of directors install Starlight as co-captain of The Seven. However, in response to this, Homelander bribes Edgar's secret adoptive daughter Victoria Neuman into opening an investigation into Edgar, ousting him from Vought, with Homelander assuming control of the company himself. Before leaving, Edgar warns Homelander that he will not be here to clean up his messes. He appoints Ashley Barrett as his puppet ruler and antagonizes Starlight by reinstating The Deep as a member of the Seven and falsely announcing that the two are in a relationship during the finale of American Hero. After Starlight denounces Homelander and Vought and abandons her persona as Starlight via a livestream, Homelander says that he dumped her and accuses her of engaging in human trafficking via her charitable foundation, the Starlight House. After learning that Queen Maeve not only acted as an informant for the Boys but also slept with their leader Billy Butcher, Homelander has her detained at Seven Tower with the intention of harvesting her eggs. Homelander later learns of his connection with Soldier Boy after receiving a call from him. After confirming this connection with Black Noir, Homelander savagely murders the latter. He later picks up Ryan from Mallory's house after intimidating her. When Homelander attempts to connect with Soldier Boy by introducing him to Ryan and saying that all three of them could be a family, Soldier Boy disowns him as a weak, damaged, attention-seeking disappointment and attempts to kill or depower him (as part of his deal with Butcher). Homelander turns against Soldier Boy after the latter strikes Ryan, but is forced to reluctantly fight Queen Maeve. He later introduces his son Ryan to his and Stormfront's supporters at Vought Tower. There, a pro-Starlight protestor hits Ryan in the face with a soft drink can, provoking Homelander to kill him with his heat vision. This grants him the applause of his and Stormfront's supporters, while Ryan is impressed.

Homelander, after getting everything he's ever wanted, faces a murder trial and begins to have a breakdown, so he recruits Sister Sage to help him. On the day of the trial, he orders three of his fans to be killed to start a brawl right after being declared innocent. He organizes the first rescue of his son Ryan, forcing him to use his power by killing the false criminal. After trying to kill Hughie, he has a fight with Ryan for seeing Butcher and has a mental breakdown. He then visits the lab where he was created and kept locked up. He proceeds to kill all of the people responsible for testing on him in an act of revenge, with the exception of Dr. Barbara Findlay, whom he leaves locked up along with the rest of the dead staff. Following the events at the lab, Homelander begins to connect with Ryan and starts to support him. Later, Homelander tells his team that they will have to be more cruel and ruthless for the greater good just before he orders The Seven to kill Cameron Coleman, who is believed to have leaked the video. Homelander, along with most of The Seven and Neuman, attend a party organized by Tek Knight, in which he plans to turn, along with Sage and Neuman, the congressmen against Singer. Homelander learns from Firecracker that the mole is still alive and they become intimate when she feeds him her breast milk. Homelander begins to give Firecracker more weight on the team. Homelander kills Webweaver thinking he is the mole and sends The Deep and Black Noir II to kill Butcher and the rest of The Boys, without success. Feeling betrayed by A-Train, Homelander expels Sage from The Seven after hiding that A-Train was the mole. That night, Homelander sees how his son talks live about his mother Becca and Butcher, which leaves him in shock.

Gen V (2023–present)[edit]

Homelander appears during the chaos at Godolkin University in the first season finale of Gen V after being called by Ashley Barrett. Upon arrival, he sees the fallen Supes from the "Woods" and Cate Dunlap's left arm being blasted off as he asks Marie what kind of Supe attacks her own kind. Before Marie can explain, Homelander blasts his heat vision at her. After this, he makes the real perpetrators of the attack the ones who saved the day and Marie and her group are locked up. Homelander watches his cover-up be mentioned by Cameron Coleman with satisfaction.

Seven on 7 (2020–2021)[edit]

In the following 2020–2021 promotional web series, Seven on 7 with Cameron Coleman, which bridges the events of the second and third seasons, Homelander continues dealing with the aftermath of Stormfront being revealed to be a Nazi, as well as filming promos for Vought's streaming service, Vought+, and to celebrate Christmas.[11][12]

Death Battle! (2020–present)[edit]

In the 2020 Amazon Prime Video-sponsored The Boys promotional episodes of Death Battle!, in promotion for its second season,[13] Homelander (voiced by Yong Yea) participates in the Seven's simulated battle royale, declaring himself the winner after killing Billy Butcher (standing-in for Black Noir), before throwing aside the laser baby to fight Stormfront, a consequence of which Wiz and Boomstick are uneasy of.[14][15]

In a 2022 episode, Homelander is pitted against Nolan Grayson / Omni-Man (from Invincible). Through a simulated battle, the hosts determined Omni-Man's superior strength, skill, and experience would prevail against Homelander if the two fought to the death.[16]

The Boys Presents: Diabolical (2022–present)[edit]

In The Boys Presents: Diabolical, Starr reprises his role as Homelander from the live-action series.

Homelander first appears in the final moments of the episode "An Animated Short Where Pissed-Off Supes Kill Their Parents", executing the title characters (escaped Supe teenagers with abnormal powers from the Red River Assisted Living for the Gifted Child) with his heat vision on Vought's behalf, after they kill their parents due to the events of The Boys episode "Over the Hill with the Swords of a Thousand Men". Ghost was the only survivor of the attack. Vought covered up all the deaths that were caused where one news report states that Homelander saved Ghost's mother from a "natural gas explosion" that took the life of Ghost's dad.

Homelander next appears in the episode "I'm Your Pusher", set in the same continuity as The Boys comic book series while honoring Great Wide Wonder during a promotional campaign. Homelander witnesses his drug overdose (induced by Billy Butcher) lead him to crash into Ironcast during a stunt, killing them both. In order to cover up what happened, Homelander, Queen Maeve, and Jack from Jupiter blame a "Cold War satellite" controlled by the evil Galaxius for their deaths claiming it is "hidden in the light of the Sun" which the watching crowd eagerly believed as they flew away.[17][18]

In the season finale, the prequel episode "One Plus One Equals Two", a young Homelander makes his debut as a member of the Seven. Flashbacks of his childhood reveal the systematic torture he received from Vought scientists testing the extent of his powers. His superior Madelyn Stillwell, who has been manipulating him, warns him of Black Noir, the "Homelander before Homelander", claiming that he will seek every opportunity to destroy him.[19][20] Assigned to tackle a hostage situation at a chemical plant ahead of Noir as his first mission as a superhero, Homelander attempts a peaceful resolution; however, after accidentally killing a hostage and injuring the eco-terrorist leader by lasering the latter's broken gun, he kills the remaining eco-terrorists and all but one hostage in a psychotic episode after they collectively berate him for his recklessness. After Black Noir arrives on the scene, Homelander attempts to explain his actions before resolving to kill Noir to cover them up. After Noir tricks Homelander into blowing up the compound, he gains his trust by mercy killing the last witness to Homelander's murders in its aftermath, and writes him an excusatory speech to provide to the press outside, claiming the eco-terrorists had a bomb. Everyone bought that speech. Later at Vought headquarters, Homelander tells Stillwell that she was wrong about Noir.[21]

Development[edit]

The character was designed as an evil version of Superman and Captain America in terms of powerset and costume. His cape pulled to the left resembles the first costume of Captain Marvel a.k.a. Shazam.[22] Homelander's backstory in the original comics is similar to that in the television adaption of The Boys.[23]

Garth Ennis describes Homelander as: "an almost entirely negative character. He is really just a series of unpleasant urges kept in check by his own intelligence, which is enough to understand that he can have anything he wants so long as he doesn't push his luck too far." Also: "It might help to think of the Homelander as having all the self-control of... let's say... a fourteen-year-old."[24]

The Boys producer and showrunner Eric Kripke has stated that while Homelander can "in theory" be killed, a plot twist which involved the character being killed by his clone Black Noir in the comic book version was not used in the television adaptation, where Black Noir is instead depicted as a black man and the character's psychopathic traits are amalgamated with Homelander.[25][26][27]

Powers and abilities[edit]

In The Boys comics, Homelander's powers include heat vision, super strength, super speed, durability, flight, regenerative healing factor, super hearing and enhanced vocal cords. He also ages slower than a normal human, due to Compound V. Homelander additionally has X-ray vision, which enables him to see through anything except items made out of, or lined with zinc, a reference to Superman's inability to see through lead. Compound V can also bring life back to a dead brain, but limits the cognitive abilities of the user. He is much stronger than everyone else in The Boys universe.

In the television series, The Boys, in the first season finale "You Found Me", when asked about Homelander's weakness, Madelyn Stillwell claims he does not have one, saying, "There isn't a weapon on Earth that they haven't thrown at him. They've all failed."[28] The Homelander's powers and sense of entitlement have led him to exhibit extreme megalomania, causing him to commit crimes against innocent people, including acts of rape and mass murder, out of the idea that he can do anything he wants because of who he is.[29]

In other media[edit]

Video games[edit]

Homelander as he appears in Mortal Kombat 1
  • Homelander appears in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II, voiced by Antony Starr.[30]
  • Homelander, based on Antony Starr's likeness, appears in Mortal Kombat 1 via the "Kombat Pack" DLC,[31][32] voiced by Jake Green.[33] In November 2023, prior to Homelander's addition, Starr revealed that while he would be providing his likeness for the game, he would not be voicing the character.[34] In his arcade mode ending, Homelander starts to lay waste to America until a portal from the Mortal Kombat universe opens and a demon horde emerges from it. After destroying them and regaining public favor, he travels through the portal to take part in the Mortal Kombat tournament.[35]

Music[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Robertson, Darick; McKay, Adam (March 10, 2015) The Art of The Boys: The Complete Covers Dynamite Entertainment.
  2. ^ Cragg, Nelson; Monahan Ellie (June 17, 2022) The Boys Season 3: "The Last Time to Look on This World of Lies" "Queen Maeve: John- Homelander: Don't you fucking John me."
  3. ^ Smail, Gretchen (August 2, 2019). "THE BOYS' Homelander Represents the Worst of America". Nerdist. Archived from the original on August 2, 2019. Retrieved August 2, 2019.
  4. ^ Coates, Lauren (October 26, 2020). "The Boys' Homelander represents how the world sees America". Polygon. Archived from the original on July 9, 2022. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  5. ^ Darwish, Meaghan (6 August 2019). "'The Boys': Why Homelander Is TV's Best New Villain". TV Insider. Archived from the original on 7 August 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
  6. ^ Pulliam-Moore, Charles (16 November 2020). "The Fascism Is the Point". io9. Archived from the original on 16 April 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  7. ^ a b Rubin, Peter (July 26, 2019). "Amazon's 'The Boys' Tests the Limits of Superhero Fatigue". Wired.com. Archived from the original on 2019-07-26. Retrieved July 26, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Hale, Mike (July 26, 2019). "Review: 'The Boys' Deconstructs the Superhero, With a Light Touch". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2019-11-26. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  9. ^ Sarner, Lauren (July 20, 2019). "'The Boys' star Antony Starr dishes on edgy new superhero show". New York Post. Archived from the original on July 20, 2019. Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  10. ^ Gass, Zach (12 June 2021). "Omniman (& 9 Other Best Known Alternative Versions Of Superman)". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on 9 July 2021. Retrieved 3 July 2021.
  11. ^ Gribbin, Sean (7 October 2021). "Black Noir's Season 3 Arc Involves The Boys' Scariest Supe". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on 2 July 2022. Retrieved 7 October 2021.
  12. ^ Ryan, Danielle (12 November 2021). "The Boys Roasts Disney With A 'Vought+ Day' Video". /Film. Archived from the original on 13 July 2022. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  13. ^ Spangler, Todd (March 16, 2022). "Rooster Teeth Hires Amazon Studios' Adam Bersin as Head of Marketing (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Archived from the original on March 16, 2022. Retrieved March 16, 2022. [Amazon Studios Head of Marketing, Adam] Bersin said he was attracted to Rooster Teeth after working with the company on custom-content partnerships for several of Amazon Studios['] launches, like the Death Battle for "The Boys" Season 2.
  14. ^ The Seven Battle Royale (The Boys). DEATH BATTLE!. September 17, 2020. Archived from the original on December 30, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020 – via YouTube.
  15. ^ BREAKDOWN: The Seven Battle Royale (The Boys). DEATH BATTLE!. September 17, 2020. Archived from the original on November 3, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020 – via YouTube.
  16. ^ Omni-Man VS Homelander (Invincible VS The Boys). DEATH BATTLE!. May 23, 2022. Archived from the original on August 5, 2022. Retrieved June 18, 2022 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ Milligan, Mercedes (February 2, 2022). "Prime Offers a Taste of 'Diabolical' in New 'Vought-A-Burger' Teaser". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on July 5, 2022. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  18. ^ Maas, Jennifer (February 16, 2022). "The Boys: Diabolical Trailer: Simon Pegg Finally Plays Hughie Campbell". Variety. Archived from the original on July 13, 2022. Retrieved March 3, 2022.
  19. ^ Swanstrom, Kevin (5 March 2022). "Homelander Diabolical Finale Is Canon For The Boys Season 3, Says Kripke". Screen Rant. Archived from the original on 7 March 2022. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  20. ^ Stinson, Katherine (March 15, 2022). "Is Black Noir Actually Homelander's PR Agent? There's Proof in 'The Boys Presents: Diabolical'". Distractify. Archived from the original on June 7, 2022. Retrieved March 15, 2022.
  21. ^ Maas, Jennifer (March 5, 2022). "How 'Diabolical' Connects to 'The Boys' Season 3: Yes, That Finale Is Canon". Variety. Archived from the original on July 6, 2022. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  22. ^ Berlatsky, Noah (September 4, 2020). "The Triumph of Evil Supermen". The New York Observer. Archived from the original on September 25, 2020. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  23. ^ Harn, Darby (October 26, 2020). "5 Ways Homelander In Amazon's The Boys Is Comics-Accurate (& 5 How He's Different)". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on November 1, 2020. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  24. ^ Rybandt, Joe (September 9, 2008). "The Writer and his Editor: Ennis & Rybandt". Newsarama. Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved September 9, 2008.
  25. ^ Venable, Nick (October 11, 2020). "Does The Boys' Black Noir Reveal Mean That Big Homelander Comic Twist Isn't Happening?". CinemaBlend. Archived from the original on July 7, 2022. Retrieved October 11, 2020.
  26. ^ Reimann, Tom (September 4, 2020). "Can Homelander Be Killed? The Boys' Eric Kripke Weighs In". Collider. Archived from the original on September 6, 2020. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  27. ^ Griffeth, Trey (September 4, 2020). "'The Boys' Showrunner On If Homelander Can Be Killed". Heroic Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 24, 2020. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  28. ^ "You Found Me" The Boys Season 1×1 (July 26, 2019) Kripke, Eric; Saunders, Anne Cofell; Sonnenshine, Rebecca.
  29. ^ Ennis, Garth; McCrea, John; Keith Burns. Herogasm #1–2 (May–June 2009) Dynamite Entertainment.
  30. ^ Tassi, Paul. "This Is What Homelander, Starlight And Black Noir Bundles Look Like In 'Call Of Duty,' Plus Release Dates". Forbes. Archived from the original on 2023-07-14. Retrieved 2023-07-15.
  31. ^ Onder, Cade (21 July 2023). "Mortal Kombat 1 Reveals Homelander, Peacemaker, and Omni-Man as DLC". Archived from the original on 1 August 2023. Retrieved 21 July 2023.
  32. ^ "Mortal Kombat 1 adds Omni-Man, Peacemaker, and Homelander to roster". 24 July 2023. Archived from the original on 10 August 2023. Retrieved 8 August 2023.
  33. ^ Reeves, Brianna (June 11, 2024). "Mortal Kombat 1's Homelander voice actor isn't who fans expected". Dextero. Retrieved June 11, 2024.
  34. ^ "Antony Starr confirms he's not voicing Homelander in Mortal Kombat 1". Dexerto. 2023-11-12. Archived from the original on 2023-11-13. Retrieved 2023-11-14.
  35. ^ Mortal Kombat 1 – Homelander Story Ending Cutscene. Mortal Kombat 1. June 5, 2024. Retrieved June 5, 2024 – via YouTube.{{cite AV media}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  36. ^ Romano, Nick (2022-12-02). "Metro Boomin samples Homelander from 'The Boys' on new album". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on 2023-02-14. Retrieved 2023-02-14.
  37. ^ The Chalkeaters (June 8, 2024). ROLL OUT THE FALLOUT! – Original Animation ■ The Chalkeaters ft. Black Gryph0n & Benny Benack III. Retrieved June 8, 2024 – via YouTube.{{cite AV media}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)