The last time we checked in with Jack Quaid, he was getting ready to beam aboard CBS All Access' new adult animated series Star Trek: Lower Decks as Ensign Brad Boimler. Now we turn our attention to the world of Amazon Prime's The Boys, with Quaid's Hughie, Karl Urban's Butcher, and the rest of our supes-busting crew finding themselves wanted by pretty much every government (and cape) on the planet when the first three episodes drop on Friday, September 4th (with an Aisha Tyler-hosted aftershow joining the fun this season). We had a chance to speak with Quaid not too long ago about Hughie's journey, the importance of the cast's on-set and off-set chemistry, and why the show's ability to tackle current issues is one of the things that keeps the actor coming back.
On the closeness that the cast and creators have on set, as well as during interviews and on social media- and how series showrunner/executive producer Eric Kripke is the main reason for that:
"It's easy to be on The Boys in the sense that I love everybody who is on it. And we all were like a big family. I think that's something that [Eric] Kripke really seeks to curate. You know he has a… I don't know if I can swear on this, but basically he has a "no assholes" policy when it comes to casting and he's like one of the only people to actually achieve that. You know, every single person in that cast is just incredible as a performer and also just as a person. So we interact with each other over social media or in interviews the way that we do just naturally on set. I don't know… we don't have to try to make it seem like we're having a good time. We are having a good time."
On how Hughie has evolved since the first season, how that will impact his relationship with Butcher moving forward, and what Hughie's "theme" would be for the second season:
"He's learned a lot in the first season. When we first met him, he was the guy that was essentially aimless. But he was aimless in a way that was just fine for him. You know, he had his girlfriend, and as long as he had that, he didn't have to get a promotion at work or do anything else because he just kind of achieved what he wanted to achieve in life. He really just wanted to move in with this girl and continue his life, in a somewhat sheltered way. And then his entire world gets literally and figuratively blown up in front of him. And he has to learn how to take and take control of his own life and not be aimless. And…maybe aimless is the wrong word. Maybe it's more so he's afraid to… he's afraid to confront anyone and he's afraid to basically argue for or go to bat for himself. And then he meets this person Butcher who… that's all he does. And he stands up. He fights for what he believes in. And Hughie really appreciates that about him and then follows him into this insane world. But then he realizes, 'Oh. Okay. This guy is… This guy's like Captain Ahab. Like, this guy will ultimately get everyone killed because he is so just set on his mission of revenge. And once he leaves them, it's sorta like he is starting to realize that 'okay, not all supes are bad.' You know, some of them are amazing people. Some of them are people that you can just see yourself falling in love with.
So in season two, we continue that journey. Butcher is gone from The Boys, and Hughie is trying to finish the fight but in a… not a respectful way, but in a way that doesn't lead to as much carnage and collateral damage and just chaos. And he feels really, really bad about what he did with Starlite, how he lied to her the whole first season, essentially. And, you know, you might see that he might try to rekindle that as well. This season, we're really focusing on how Hughie is continuing to come into his own. For the first season, he was basically… he was trying to help other people. Other people decided his fate. And this season, he's trying to figure out who he is on his own. I would say if the first season Hughie is about anxiety, second season Hughie is about depression because he just has nothing. He has nothing in the beginning of this… the beginning of the season."
On the importance of the series being able to tackle important societal issues, and do it in a way that makes it accessible to a larger audience:
"I mean, first of all, let me say I love it. I love being on a show that tackles real issues in all be in a crazy way… a fantastical way, but it still is talking about stuff that is actually happening today. It's interesting… I don't think that we're like ahead of the curve or we're like predicting anything because a lot of these issues have been happening for decades, if not centuries. So I think it's just it goes back to Eric's willingness to really… you know, we talked about the #MeToo Movement in the first season. I think it just goes back to Eric's willingness to really use this superhero vehicle as a way to talk about our real world. I mean, the comics, to an extent, did that back in the early 2000s and Eric just wants to keep that going. I think it's just awesome because you… I don't know… I feel like I just love being in a show that isn't afraid to talk about real issues and packages them in a way that is digestible but also interesting to watch. I don't know. I appreciate the fact that there are eyeballs on this and we can talk about issues in a real way."
The Boys: A Look Ahead to Season 2
A more intense, more desperate Season 2 of The Boys finds Butcher, Hughie, and the crew wanted by anything and everything with a superpower for the mess that was the first season. So what better time for our heroes to take the fight directly to Vought. Speaking of supes, it's not like Homelander (Antony Starr) has it any easier: Stormfront (Aya Cash) has her eyes on his leadership spot on The Seven- but her plans are much more "global" in nature. An even bigger "wild card" in all of this? The return of "retired" The Seven member Lamplighter (Shawn Ashmore), who ignites some painful memories and righteous anger.
The following second-season teaser picks up where things left off last time: a bloody Homelander meeting his son. From there, we have a bloody mess that finds A-Train (Jessie T. Usher) not doing so well; Homelander taking on Starlight (Erin Moriarty); Mr. Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito) stepping up his presence, The Deep (Chase Crawford) still trying to not be so shallow; a quick look at Butcher's good boy Terror, and more.
Amazon Prime Video also released a preview introducing Stormfront in all of her social media glory. In the opening scene, we get to see Vought's PR campaign making the public feel comfy about supes in the military just before the set gets a visitor, much to the chagrin of Homelander, Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), and public relation powerhouse Ashley (Colby Minifie). But Stormfront's not just there to make a name for herself, because she's already done that. That's because Mr. Edgar just named her as the late, not-so-great Translucent's (Alex Hassell) replacement- and Homelander's not happy.
Speaking of Mr. Edgar, during "The Boys F**kin' Reunion," Kripke previewed the first three minutes of the second season opener (at around the 47:30 mark) that plans are moving forward to embed supes with the military, with the Vought CEO and Secretary of Defense Robert Singer (Jim Beaver) negotiating "collateral damage" while Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) takes care of a first-season threat.
In this clip, Butcher is reunited with the team- just in enough time to take off again to meet with a contact. To say that doesn't sit well with Hughie would be an understatement: he wants answers- and a new plan. Of course, there's no way that doesn't come across to Butcher as a challenge to his leadership. Yeah, Butcher isn't a big fan of being questioned. Following that, we see what happens post-whale impaling (yup): As The Deep mourns the loss of Lucy, he looks to convince Starlight that one day she might welcome him back on the team. Yeah, that's not gonna happen- until Stormfront steps in. Meanwhile, Homelander looks to go underground to continue the hunt:
On the side of The Boys, the series also stars Laz Alonso (The Mysteries of Laura) as second-in-command Mother's Milk, and Tomer Capon as unpredictable wild card Frenchie, a brutal warrior when who lives a life of no attachments or responsibilities. Also joining this season are Goran Visnjic, Claudia Doumit, Patton Oswalt, and a returning Malcolm Barrett.