From January 6 to MAGA Fervor: How The Boys Season 4 Confronts Political Anxieties

“I’m under no illusion that we’re going to change minds or change anything,” showrunner Eric Kripke tells EW.

The writers behind The Boys never shy away from addressing real-world topics. It’s part of the very DNA of the original comic books from writer Garth Ennis and artist Darick Robertson; the R-rated source material satirized the pop culture and politics of the age, which often included the superheroes of Marvel and DC Comics. Now with season 4 of the adaptation coming out in 2024 — an election year, no less! — the show is channeling more current events like the January 6 riot on the Capitol and general MAGA fever in its own unique irreverent tone.

If anything, showrunner Eric Kripke finds the process therapeutic. “We write about whatever is pissing us off or frightening us at the time,” he tells Entertainment Weekly. “I’m under no illusion that we’re going to change minds or change anything. We’re carnies. I get it. But to be able to just have a place to put our feelings and to say the things we want to say is a real gift.”

Some of the storylines to this season come directly from the source material, such as the idea of a vice president in Vought’s pocket. In the comics, that was Victor K. Neuman, a.k.a. Vic the Veep. On the show, that’s Claudia Doumit’s Victoria Neuman, who is a supe herself and playing the long game as the running mate of presidential candidate Robert Singer (Jim Beaver).

The Boys Season 4

Erin Moriarty’s Starlight attempts to break up a riot on ‘The Boys’ season 4.JAN THIJS/PRIME VIDEO

However, Kripke admits January 6, the day a horde of former President Donald Trump’s more extremist supporters stormed the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., “was on everyone’s mind when we were in the writers’ room” for season 4. “The real sin are these powerful and selfish people using social media to intentionally tear people apart for their own selfish interests. That is just so hateful to me,” he says. “Our targets are not the people who are racing into these situations. It’s the people who are manipulating them to do so.”

Audiences will be quick to note other clear parallels. Antony Starr’s Homelander is deep into his own MAGA-esque era. He’s even on trial for something Trump himself once said he could do without suffering any consequences: shoot someone in public in broad daylight. Homelander was just using his laser vision instead of a gun. And not so dissimilar from the situation in New York City during Trump’s hush-money criminal trial, Homelander’s base spars with those supporting Erin Moriarty’s Starlight outside the court house awaiting the verdict.

The star-spangled leader of supe group the Seven has his new teammate to thank for this political manipulation: Susan Heyward’s Sister Sage, who’s ability is being the smartest person in the entire world. “We’ve always said one of Homelander’s biggest problems is he’s surrounded by idiots,” Kripke previously told EW. “Therefore, if you could actually bring in someone who’s a tactical genius, that would make Homelander much more dangerous.”

The Boys Season 4

Susan Heyward’s Sister Sage and Valorie Curry’s Firecracker in ‘The Boys’ season 4.JASPER SAVAGE/PRIME VIDEO

As for the other new supe on the block, you might say she’s the Lauren Boebart or Marjorie Taylor Greene. Valorie Curry’s Firecracker, who masks her pretty feeble supe power with lots and lots of guns, is the kind of wannabe alt-right media personality who finds herself in political power. Kripke has a different politician in mind when he thinks of this character: South Dakota Governor and Trump VP contender Kristi Noem, who wrote in her memoir about shooting her own dog.

“It turns out, there’s always crazier,” Kripke remarks. “Firecracker represents both members of the conspiracy-minded movements and the super extreme right-wing news media. That character has some surprising backstory that connects her to some of the characters in our world that it was just interesting to bring in one of those pistol-packing ‘I shot my puppies’ type of characters.”

By the time The Boys season 4 concludes with its finale episode on Thursday, July 18, we may have a dark vision of what awaits us on our own Election Day. Though the show may not shape hearts and minds, Kripke now intones, “The powerful people could give a sh– about their followers. I just wish we could somehow break the fever, break the spell and let people see these leaders for who they really are.”

The Boys season 4 premieres June 13 on Prime Video.

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