Will Butcher Die? All the Burning Questions ‘The Boys’ Season 4 Needs to Answer

After a two-year hiatus, The Boys are finally back. Amazon Prime Video’s hit series, based on the groundbreaking comic books by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson and adapted to TV by Eric Kripke, explores a world where superheroes exist — except they’re not that heroic. Previous seasons have found the blood-soaked comic book satire jumping the shark (or plowing through whales) plenty of times, and by the looks of things, season 4 — which arrives June 13 — is going to go completely off the rails.

Here’s the main gist of the show: Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) and his rogue team want to destroy The Seven, a corrupt squad of superheroes, and its crazed leader, Homelander (Antony Starr). It’s not an easy feat, because Homelander, along with Supes like Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), The Deep (Chace Crawford), A-Train (Jessie T. Usher), Starlight (Erin Moriarty) and Black Noir (Nathan Mitchell) are a formidable force kept in line by Vought International, a shady corporation with influence in entertainment, government and more, led by the sinister Stan Edgar (Giancarlo Esposito). If you haven’t seen the first three seasons, note heavy spoilers follow.

Season 3 of The Boys found Butcher’s team resurrecting the all-powerful Soldier Boy (Jensen Ackles) to help take down Homelander. With Butcher and Hughie (Jack Quaid) using Temp V, a drug that gave them short-lived super abilities of their own, the unlikely trio was still unable to stop the unhinged leader of The Seven. 

Starlight’s dramatic departure from The Seven, broadcast live on social media, deepened the chasm between her and Homelander. This intense conflict is set to ignite the narrative of season 4. Butcher’s use of Temp V allowed him to shoot lasers from his eyes, but the cost was high; he now has months to live. Queen Maeve and Black Noir were both ousted from the Seven, the former by her own choice and the latter at the brutal hands of Homelander. 

Victoria Neuman (Claudia Doumit) began her run for the vice presidency, still able to pop heads at a moment’s notice. As for Homelander? Not only does he now have Butcher’s son Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) under his tutelage, but the all-powerful Supe was left more influential than ever, getting away with murdering a person at a rally in broad daylight. 

Will Butcher’s life come to an end? Can Homelander fulfill his role as a father to Ryan? And what about Annie January, the Supe formerly known as Starlight? Will she find her own happiness, free from Vought’s control? 

These are just some of the questions CNET discussed with showrunner Eric Kripke, cast members Antony Starr, Erin Moriarty and Claudia Doumit, and series newcomers Susan Heyward and Valorie Curry during the show’s official press day recently. 

Read more: The Boys Season 3 Review: The Perfect Antidote to Marvel Fatigue

Is Billy Butcher really going to die?


Surely not.

Amazon Studios/Screenshot by CNET

“He’s got quite the ticking clock of only a few months to live,” Kripke told me. “So you very inevitably start thinking of your legacy. What are you leaving behind? What do you want to do with the time you have left?”

Butcher has left quite a trail of damage behind him. To keep pushing forward with his Supe-stopping mission, Butcher may have to do an extreme pivot with his leadership strategy that has hurt everything (and everyone) he loves. Will he turn over a new leaf and find some compassion before it’s too late?

“He’s screwed up so badly,” Kripke continued. “He’s pushed away the only part of his life who’s still alive: Ryan. His team doesn’t trust him and the stakes are higher than they’ve ever been. He has a lot to try to put together in the little bit of time he has left while he’s at his weakest and most vulnerable.” 

Will Homelander’s violent tendencies rub off on Ryan?


Antony Starr (left) and Cameron Crovetti play Homelander and Ryan Butcher in The Boys season 4.

Jasper Savage/Prime Video

From struggling with cringe-worthy mommy issues in season 1 to tackling fatherhood in season 4, Homelander has been on one heck of a journey. Now that Ryan is under his guidance, one has to wonder if Homelander is rearing the boy to grow into a fine, upstanding adult. 

The short answer? Nope.

“It’s almost sad to watch him try to be a father, because he genuinely loves the kid,” Kripke said. “But he’s so selfish and narcissistic, that he just cannot get out of his own way. He doesn’t realize that the point of being a father is selflessness — he thinks it’s a thing he should be getting. Just watching him try to navigate that and be unable to get out of his son’s way, and that he gets jealous when his son gets attention, all that stuff is just so pathetic.”

Starr agreed: “There’s a lot of ignorance in there, which leads to him having some pretty different ideas about parenting. [In] season 4, one of the themes is legacy. And what he really wants to do is submit his own future and he sees the kid as a vehicle to do that. So it’s actually an incredibly selfish reason on Homelander’s part.”

How will Starlight’s exit affect Homelander and The Seven?


Erin Moriarty as Annie January/Starlight in season 3 of The Boys on Prime Video.

Amazon Studios

These new episodes find Annie January taking an activist approach to the havoc Vought Industries wreaks daily. But it’s not all sunshine and roses.

“I think that just when we think that she’s reached the moment where she’s gained control of her own life, she’s really lost control of the wheel,” Moriarty said. “I love that she goes on this trajectory this season, because so many of us reach a point and, the irony of reaching that point is the hopes we have, like: ‘Oh my God, I’ve arrived in this moment that I’ve been waiting for … and I feel like fucking shit.’ That happens so often, and you feel worse because you should feel better.”

Who are these new members of The Seven, anyway?


Susan Heyward (left) and Valorie Curry are Sister Sage and Firecracker, the newest members of The Seven in season 4 of The Boys.

Jasper Savage/Amazon Studios

In light of Starlight’s exit from The Seven and the season 3 demise of Black Noir, Homelander will be adding a few new faces to his Supe crew in season 4: Sister Sage (Susan Heyward) and Firecracker (Valorie Curry). The pair are polar opposites, with Sister Sage operating 100% from an intellectual point of view and Firecracker relying on heavily manipulating the public’s emotions — she hosts a polarizing podcast.

“At one point we run through her resume: actor, presenter, philosopher, author … she peddles conspiracy theories and she is an outsider,” Curry said. “She is a survivor who has figured out how to thrive, and find her niche, and find her people and her audience. She is a very unlikely person to be thrust into the center of power. It’s sort of like her fantasy come to life.”

Sister Sage is “known for being the world’s smartest person,” Heyward said. Noting her usefulness to Homelander, the actress hinted at a childhood trauma that drove her character into extreme isolation before being recruited into The Seven.

“The length of time that Sage has felt lonely and felt isolated and felt ignored and disenfranchised, despite this power, did not make for a lovely existence,” she said. “She’s not necessarily out in the world engaging and fighting for something. I think part of it is a certain kind of misery of being misunderstood. And nobody wants to be misunderstood.”

Will Victoria get to the White House?


Claudia Doumit as Victoria Neuman in season 3 of The Boys.

Amazon Studios

“First of all, the pursuit of the vice presidency — that journey is going fantastic, isn’t it?” Doumit coyly asked. “No, it’s not. It’s horrible.”

Sure, Neuman has this terrifying ability to pop a person’s head at any moment. In order to successfully win her bid for the White House, the last thing she can do is reveal any of this to the general public. At least, not yet. Keeping that secret is hard work, but par for the course in politics. She’s chosen this isolating career, for better and worse.

“The alliances and the people that she makes deals with, she interacts with and essentially, you know, gets into bed with, just led her down a path that really causes this internal battle for her,” Doumit said. “She’s a person that very heavily compartmentalizes and does that successfully; she’s done that successfully in previous seasons. But, she’s having to think more on her feet this season. And she’s being thrown into situations that have no preparation and strategy behind them.”

It all sounds like one huge headache

Will she maintain the cool-headed control she’s had in previous seasons? According to Doumit, that’s a big no. “She had this grasp of control these past few seasons; she doesn’t have it anymore. And that’s terrifying for her.”

The Boys season 4 premieres its first three episodes on Thursday, June 13, on Prime Video.