In the world of superheroes, few figures spark as much fascination as Homelander. With features of a classical hero and the moral compass of a tyrant, Homelander embodies the quintessence of a paradox—beloved by the public for his godlike powers, yet feared in the shadows for his unstable brutality. This complex figure in The Boys is not only a caricature of the traditional superhero but also a sharp critique of the very archetype, blending narcissism, vanity, and explosive anger with an unsettling need for adoration and a fragile sense of self.

As “The Boys” progresses from its explosive first season towards its climactic final chapters, this blog post explores the intricate evolution of Homelander. Premiering on July 26, 2019, and moving towards its much-anticipated fourth season airing on June 13, 2024, we trace his journey from cinematic debut as the ideal superhero to his descent into moral ambiguity and darkness. This exploration peels back the layers that compose his character, examining how his thirst for power conflicts with his human desires for connection, and speculating on his ultimate fate in the series’ final season. 

Season One: The Mask of Heroism Begins to Slip

Madelyn Stillwell embracing Homelander and his face looking contempt.

When The Boys debuted on July 26, 2019, it introduced audiences to Homelander, portrayed by Antony Starr, as the ultimate paragon of heroism and virtue. As the leader of The Seven, Homelander was revered by the public, embodying an ideal mix of strength, charm, and moral righteousness that made him the face of Vought International’s superhero franchise. However, beneath this carefully crafted exterior lay a more sinister nature, characterized by manipulative, controlling, and often violent tendencies. His complex relationship with Vought executive Madelyn Stillwell is particularly telling, as it reveals both his dependency on maternal approval and his readiness to use his powers to enforce his will, starting with the destruction of the Mayor of Baltimore’s plane to protect Vought’s secrets.

As the season progresses, the facade of the perfect hero begins to crumble, exposing the audience to the true depths of Homelander’s character. His psychological manipulation and god-like arrogance hint at the emerging tyrant, who views himself above both moral reproach and human decency. This dual identity sets the tone for Homelander’s journey throughout the series, balancing public adoration with private malevolence. The season masterfully peels back layers of his persona, illustrating how absolute power not only corrupts but deeply isolates, setting up a path of inevitable self-destruction and conflict within the twisted world of The Boys.

Season Two: Power Struggles and Personal Demons

Homelander with blood dripping down his face. Billy Butcher and Ryan are blurry figures behind him. They are all standing in a forest.

The second season of The Boys, premiering September 4, 2020, intensifies the challenges Homelander faces, significantly impacting his dominance within The Seven. This season introduces Stormfront, a new superhero whose mysterious past and radical ideologies challenge Homelander’s authority. The tension escalates further when Homelander discovers that Becca, the wife of his nemesis Billy Butcher, is alive and raising a superpowered son, Ryan, fathered by Homelander himself. This revelation not only shocks Homelander but also injects personal stakes into his ongoing battle with Butcher.

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Throughout the season, Homelander’s attempts to connect with Ryan and mold him in his own image reveal his profound identity crisis and his distorted view of fatherhood. These interactions are packed with Homelander’s manipulative and coercive tactics, culminating in a harrowing moment where he forces Ryan to use his powers. Meanwhile, his alliance with Stormfront turns into a public and private relationship that magnifies his darkest inclinations, manipulating media narratives to regain his faltering public image. However, as Stormfront’s nefarious background and plans are unveiled, Homelander’s world begins to crumble, isolating him further as he clings desperately to power. Season Two not only explores Homelander’s increasing need for control, but also foreshadows his potential downfall.

Season Three: A Blast from the Past

Solider Boy and Gunpowder getting ready to fire weapons. This scene was set in the 1980s.

Season Three of The Boys, which premiered on June 3, 2022, descends deeper into Homelander’s explosive psyche following the events of the previous seasons. This season unfolds with Homelander still reeling from the public and personal fallout of the Stormfront scandal, struggling to maintain his grip over The Seven and Vought International. The introduction of Soldier Boy, a long-thought-dead Supe who reveals startling truths about the past, particularly shakes Homelander. The revelation that Soldier Boy, once a leader akin to what Homelander has become, is actually his biological father, throws Homelander’s self-perception into chaos. This discovery forces him to reassess his legacy while also igniting a fierce internal conflict as he grapples with the implications of his lineage and the fear of his own obsolescence.

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Throughout the third season, Homelander’s actions become increasingly erratic and desperate as he tries to assert his superiority while feeling the foundations of his power erode. His forced public relationship with Starlight, his intense manipulation of his son Ryan, and his violent outbursts at public events are all indicative of a man on the brink. A pivotal moment comes when Homelander confronts Black Noir, who had withheld critical information about his origins. In a shocking display of ruthlessness and betrayal, Homelander kills Black Noir, an act that not only eliminates a long-time ally but also serves as a stark reminder of the lengths to which he will go to preserve his power. As familial drama and power struggles intensify, Homelander’s season builds to a climax that tests the limits of his power and sanity, setting the stage for a showdown that could either solidify his reign or lead to his downfall.

Season Four Predictions: The Dark Reflection of Reality

Homelander and his son, Ryan, walking down the street. Ryan looks visibly upset while Homelander seems proud.

As The Boys heads into its fourth season, Homelander’s character arc takes on an even darker hue, reflecting not just the fictional world of Vought and The Seven but eerily mirroring real-world political and social crises. With the end of Season Three showcasing Homelander’s increasing public approval despite—or perhaps because of—his tyrannical behavior, Season Four is expected to go more in-depth into his transformation from a controversial hero to a full-fledged antagonist. We believe Homelander’s strategies to maintain power are likely to become more drastic and his isolation more pronounced, echoing themes of authoritarianism and the corruption of power that resonate deeply with current global political climates.

While we steer clear of direct comic book spoilers (until the next section that is), the trajectory of Homelander’s character in the comics offers a broad framework that could influence the television adaptation. In the comics, Homelander’s journey culminates in dramatic and dark events that unravel his psyche and power. In the show, it will be interesting to see how the series sets up the final season, potentially aligning Homelander’s story with thematic elements from the comics, while still preserving its unique narrative.

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Homelander’s Evolution and Ending in the Comics (SPOILERS)

Comic book version of Homelander flying even to a skyscraper with another character from behind stating "oh."

In the original comic book series, Homelander is portrayed as a complex and deeply flawed character, much like in the television adaptation. Unlike the TV series, which gradually unveils the layers of Homelander’s character across seasons, the comics present him with a bit more outright malevolence and less ambiguity in his actions from the outset. This portrayal explores the psychological ramifications of absolute power and the alienation it breeds, themes that are paralleled in the series, particularly in how he interacts with characters like Ryan and Starlight.

The climax of Homelander’s story in the comics is both shocking and revealing, marked by a brutal confrontation with his clone, Black Noir, who had been secretly undermining him to take his place. This twist, that Black Noir is actually the real villain performing atrocities in Homelander’s guise, adds a layer of tragedy to Homelander’s narrative, highlighting the themes of identity confusion and manipulation by higher powers. Given Black Noir’s untimely ending in the show version of The Boys, we aren’t positive how similar Homelander’s character evolution will end, but, we’re hoping these themes will still be woven throughout Season Four and Five regardless! 

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