The success of Prime Video’s The Boys cannot be understated. Having completed its third season in 2022, the raunchy and violent series about a group of humans (i.e. The Boys) and supes who band together to take down a conglomerate of morally dubious superheroes is now the longest running of the three superhero shows that the streaming service put into production a few years back (The Tick was canceled in 2019 while a second season of the animated Invincible is promised by this year’s end). It is also the most widely watched of that trio and even scored a best drama series Emmy nomination in 2021.
So, naturally, Prime Video wants to expand this world. After the series of animated shorts, The Boys Presents: Diabolical, enters the first live-action spin-off: Gen V.
Announced in 2020, the program took some time to coalesce thanks to the pandemic and other issues. But with a first season shot, Prime Video gave Boys fans a glimpse at the series in December 2022 via a brief teaser. And it was clear that Gen V will have some similarities with its antecedent: beside the expected blood and gore, the shows share an aesthetic and also a mystery or two.
But what else can we learn about the series? Join us as we take stock of what we know so far about the program and just what its characters may be up to in the first season.
(Photo by Amazon Studios)
Based on the “We Gotta Go Now” story arc from Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys comic books, the program will focus on Godolkin University, a for-profit center of higher education run by the nefarious and omnipresent Vought International to train the next generation of supes. The school is less about education (despite grades still mattering) and more akin to a reality show competition: Young hopefuls square off in intense challenges with the goal of securing the best spots in the Vought-controlled regional superhero markets. And considering what we know about Vought’s obsession with creating a superhuman race, we imagine the company also has another reason for Godolkin’s curriculum. Add something “bigger and sinister” lurking in the halls of the school and one wonders if the key group of students featured on the show will end up heroes or villains. Also, as the trailer released in September (embedded above) revealed, there is something in “The Woods” that the company and the university are desperate to keep under wraps.
Into this setting — at least in the comic book — comes the G-Men, a team occasionally mentioned in The Boys television series and one that was designed in “We Gotta Go Now” to serve as a parody of the X-Men. In that story, the G-Men are a collective of over 80 supes spread across multiple teams. Although often outcasts like their Marvel inspirations, they still prove to be one of the most lucrative super franchises in the world. But with that huge of a roster, inevitably many publicly break ranks (and end up dead).
In “We Gotta Go Now,” Hughie from The Boys (Jack Quaid in the show) joins a junior G-Men team to learn more about the operation. Posing as a young supe called Bagpipe, he learns that some more senior G-Men are the worst people in the world (even if the kids are not beyond redemption). Vought itself steps in to deal with the G-Men when things unravel. When (or if) this storyline will be part of Gen V is unknown, as Quaid has said that he won’t be in the first season of the spin-off.
To add to the confusion: “We Gotta Go Now” was also the title of the episode in The Boys season 2 in which the members of the Vought-backed top superheroes known as The Seven shoot their fictionalized origin film, Dawn of the Seven. So it’s good to remember that everyone involved with this project says it’s “loosely inspired” by the original comic book storyline.
Whatever appears on screen, Ennis and Robertson have already established a definitive tone via their comics. The cover of the “We Gotta Go Now” collected edition is inspired by the classic raunch-fest movie, Animal House, and one of the G-Men’s super power is the ability to vomit.
Who wouldn’t want to see a The Boys-style take on Wolverine?
But will the super characters in Gen V be more sympathetic than most of the ones we’ve seen in the main Boys series? Audiences have to root for someone to uncover the secrets of Godolkin University. Or, considering just how popular Antony Starr is as the thoroughly detestable Homelander in The Boys, it is possible Gen V will center on a likable antagonist.
The series will be headlined by Jaz Sinclair (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina) as “blood manipulator” Marie Moreau and Lizze Broadway as shrinking YouTuber Emma Shaw. According to an Amazon press release, Marie is a freshman eager to prove herself worthy of a Seven slot, but “is sidetracked by a mystery she begins to unravel at the school.” As seen in the trailer, she witnesses an escapee of The Woods running through campus and feels compelled to make it right. Emma, meanwhile, is described as “insecure and naive, which often leaves her in compromising positions” — some of which the trailer alludes to — although, her close bond with Marie will aid her in managing life at the school. Other stars include Sinclair’s fellow Sabrina alum Chance Perdomo as Andre Anderson, a magnet powered supe who intends to take on his father’s hero identity when he retires (despite also seeing The Woods escapee); Maddie Phillips as empath Cate Dunlap, who can “push people to do anything she commands using the touch of her hands;” and both London Thor and Derek Luh as a gender-shifting character called Jordan who manifests different powers based on whether they present as male or female and, according to the trailer, is another of the school’s best candidates for superhero stardom. Additionally, Asa Germann plays Sam, the escapee Marie and Andre spot on campus one night. He’s a troubled supe who comes to Godolkin with impressive strength and invulnerability, but a tendency to hallucinate — all of which puts him squarely in The Woods despite his protests.
Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sean Patrick Thomas, Marco Pigossi, Alexander Calvert, Jason Ritter, and Clancy Brown will recur throughout the season. Schwarzenegger plays Luke Riordan, aka Golden Boy, a senior who can literally “flame on” (as briefly seen in the trailer during a few shots) and seems to be the school’s best prospect for the Seven. Thomas reprises his role of Polarity, a previously unnamed character he voiced in the animated series The Boys: Diabolical who also happens to be Andre’s father and a trustee at Godolkin (and, based on the trailer, also knows about The Woods). Pigossi plays the “gifted” Doctor Edison Cardosa and Brown will appear as Richard Brinkerhoff, aka “Rich Brink,” a professor of crime-fighting at the school who taught some of the Seven and believes Golden Boy will be his next success story — he can also be glimpsed in the trailer hosting a school orientation video. Shelley Conn, meanwhile, joins the faculty as Indira Shetty, the school’s dean (spotted in the trailer welcoming students to the university). Although lacking a superpower, she nonetheless has a keen sense of supe psychology and takes a special interest in Marie.
And, although Hughie is the only member of The Boys (in the comics) who has a known association with the characters in Gen V, there are other characters from The Boys TV show who will appear in the series. Jessie T. Usher, Colby Minifie, Claudia Doumit, and P.J. Byrne will reprise their Boys roles as (respectively) Seven member A-Train, Vought exec Ashley Barrett — who knows about The Woods — presidential hopeful Victoria Neuman, and Dawn of the Seven director Adam Bourke, who appears to be directing the puppet show glimpsed in the trailer. Jensen Ackles will reportedly make a cameo appearance as Soldier Boy, his character from The Boys’ third season.
It’s also possible that one or more characters from Gen V could appear in the fourth season of The Boys.
Here are the official character descriptions offered by Prime Video:
• Jaz Sinclair plays Marie Moreau, an 18-year-old superhero with the ability to control and weaponize her own blood. As an incoming freshman at Vought-run Godolkin University, she is eager to prove she has what it takes to join The Seven, but is sidetracked by a mystery she begins to unravel at the school.
• Chance Perdomo plays Andre Anderson, a junior at Godolkin University with magnetic powers. He’s Golden Boy’s best friend and the son of famous superhero, Polarity; Andre has big shoes to fill as he’s set to take over the Polarity name once his dad retires. When Andre realizes that something is afoot at the school, he takes it into his own hands to try and figure out the mystery.
• Lizze Broadway plays Emma Meyer, who is also known by her superhero name, Little Cricket, for her ability to get super small. Though insecure and naive, which often leaves her in compromising positions, she becomes close friends with her freshman roommate, Marie, and together they navigate the mysterious dangers at Godolkin University.
• Shelley Conn plays Indira Shetty, the dean of Godolkin University. She doesn’t have powers, but her background in superhero psychology and her peerless ability to analyze what makes supes tick make her indispensable to the school. Her goal is to transform Godolkin University into the most elite college for supes and she takes a special interest in Marie when she arrives on campus.
• Maddie Phillips plays Cate Dunlap, a junior at Godolkin University who is good friends with Jordan and Andre. Cate is able to push people to do anything she commands using the touch of her hands, which she uses to her advantage. Powerful and confident, she’s also Luke’s girlfriend, making her one of the most popular supes on campus.
• London Thor and Derek Luh play Jordan Li, a competitive student at Godolkin University who will do anything to get to the top. They have a unique ability of changing between male and female forms, through which different powers manifest— the man is dense and indestructible, while the woman is agile and can launch energy blasts. Their distinct sets of powers make them a standout TA at Brink’s School of Crime Fighting.
• Asa Germann plays Sam, a troubled supe who is desperately trying to escape his unfortunate circumstances. He’s extremely powerful, with super strength and invulnerability. Despite having a good heart, he’s plagued by his hallucinations, which sometimes make it hard for him to discern between what is—and is not—reality.
• Patrick Schwarzenegger plays Luke Riordan, who is also known by his superhero name, Golden Boy, because of his ability to light his entire body on fire. He is a senior at Godolkin University and is in the top rank, having the brightest prospects of joining The Seven.
• Sean Patrick Thomas plays Polarity, Andre’s father and largely celebrated Godolkin University alumnus and trustee. Polarity expects his son to follow in his footsteps by taking over the Polarity name when he retires. He believes Andre is destined for The Seven and will stop at nothing to make his dream become reality.
• Clancy Brown plays Professor Rich “Brink” Brinkerhoff, a renowned professor of crime fighting at Godolkin University who taught superheroes such as A-Train, Queen Maeve, and The Deep. He is dedicated to finding the top new talent at Godolkin University to join The Seven, and believes Golden Boy has what it takes to be next.
• Marco Pigossi plays Dr. Edison Cardosa, a gifted doctor with ties to Godolkin University.
(Photo by Amazon Studios)
Initially developed by Craig Rosenberg with The Boys executive team of Eric Kripke, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, James Weaver, and Neal H. Moritz, the series went into production with Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters serving as showrunners. Additional executive producers include Pavun Shetty, Michaela Starr, Ennis, Robertson, Sarah Carbiener, Erica Rosbe, Aisha Porter-Christie, Judalina Neira and Zak Schwartz.
Gen V will debut Friday, September 29 on Prime Video with three episodes. The remaining installments will debut weekly through November 3. Despite not yet airing, a writers’ room for a potential second season convened prior to the current writers and actors strikes with Fazekas serving as the single showrunner.
The review embargo for Gen V has not yet been announced. Season 1 will get a score when the embargo lifts and at least five reviews are posted.