INTERVIEW: The Boys Showrunner Eric Kripke Talks Season 4 Premiere Surprises and Decision to End With Season 5

The Boys Season 4 is here, but with some additional news. Showrunner Eric Kripke confirmed prior to the premiere that the hit show will end with Season 5, making this the penultimate season.

Multiverse of Color sat down with him the day of the announcement to discuss that decision and to talk about the Season 4 premiere.

Spoiler warning: This interview contains spoilers for The Boys Season 4 Episodes 1-3.

Multiverse of Color: You confirmed Season 5 is going to be the final season. Congratulations on getting to end the show on your own terms. What impact did that have on the writers room knowing this would be the penultimate season?

Eric Kripke: It really helps us organize what we wanted to do in Season 4. We kind of have the whole thing laid out as its own sort of big story and at least in screenwriting structure you always want to have your sort of lowest point and your most introspective points before you take off for the roller coaster ride of the climax, and that was sort of the point we were at.

So we said, “Let’s dig,” knowing that this is the second to last season. Let’s dig as deep as we possibly can in these characters. Let’s really existentially explore what makes them all tick, so that we can feel we’ve really got them fleshed out, and that the audience really understands them before they take off into the endgame.

The Boys Season 4. Credit: Jasper Savage/Prime Video

MoC: That kind of lends beautifully to my next question about these first three episodes. There’s a really strong theme about confronting your past whether it’s Hughie and his mom, Kimiko, Frenchie. They’re all kind of dealing with the same thing. Is them kind of overcoming these things/ dealing with them critical to setting them up how they’re going to move on in Season 5? 

Kripke: Yeah, exactly right. We wanted them all to confront the core thing that made them who they are. So much of who Hughie is because his mother abandoned him. So much of who Frenchie and Kimiko are are their sordid pasts, their violent pasts. So in order to truly turn towards the future, they had to finally, once and for all, confront their past.

You know it’s like the psychiatrist says to Kimiko, I think in the second episode, if you really want to be free of your past, sometimes you have to confront it. And that’s honestly sort of what we were trying to do. But once they deal with it, hopefully this season, stay tuned to see, that once they deal with it they can turn towards the final battle ahead.

MoC: I know we can’t talk too much about Joe Kessler (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). We’ve only seen him a little bit, but he wants to turn Ryan into an asset. Butcher is kind of on his own right now. Where does Butcher go from here? 

Kripke: He’s a little bit at war with himself, and part of him really wants to use Ryan, part of him really wants to save Ryan. He’s running out of time. He needs his team more than ever, but they’ve turned their back on him. He’s really wandering through the desert right now,  and it won’t be easy for him to find his way out.

MoC: Switching gears a bit with Sister Sage played by Susan Heyward: She’s a very different type of supe than we’ve seen before, this kind of Mister Terrific type, genius-level figure, She really shakes up the dynamic at Vought. We haven’t really seen what are her motivations aside from being the smartest person on the planet and being listened to. Is there more to her that we’re going to see?

The Boys Season 4. Credit: Jasper Savage/Prime Video

Kripke: Yeah, she’s always working like 9 different strategies at the same time, and so there’s more to what she has cooking. But there’s also what Homelander says to her in the first episode. You know, she’s been in this rat trap of an apartment, having the world’s most brilliant thoughts, and being able to execute none of them. So the opportunity to enact her theories on a global scale is really tempting, and I imagine would be really tempting for someone that no one really listens to.

MoC: I have to ask about Tilda Swinton [who voices Ambrosius the octopus this season], how did that come about?

Kripke: We just thought it’d be funny to have, like the classiest, most Oscar winning-est British actress we could find, and that’s pretty a small list… We just reached out to her reps, and to her everlasting credit, she thought it was hilarious, and agreed to do it. She came in for a day of recording and I was there, and watching the classiest possible actor read the dumbest possible lines was one of the great days of my career.

MoC: We see clips of the [Homelander] trial coverage in Gen V. We see the news coverage in Episode 1, but we don’t spend a lot of time in the courtroom. What was behind the decision to skip forward to the verdict and not spend time during the trial?

Kripke: I felt like we knew how that trial was going to end because the season wasn’t going to be people trying to arrest Homelander and put him in jail. That just wasn’t the story, and so when I know something is gonna happen, I try to get the writers to get through it as quickly as possible… I will admit at the time, even a couple of years ago when we wrote it, there was some of the legal rumblings for Trump starting.

And I have to say, to the credit of the U.S. Justice system, in no way did I ever think that that guy would be found guilty of anything. And so part of the certainty with which Homelander was going to be acquitted played into that. And I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by our reality. For for one of the first times our reality is markedly better than The Boys’ reality.

The Boys Season 4. Credit: Jasper Savage/Prime Video

MoC: I have to ask about the Christmas song in Episode 3. My Broadway fan senses were tingling. Who created that song and how did that come about? 

Kripke: So that was Chris Lennertz, our composer, who has written every single song in the history of The Boys. So “Never Truly Vanish,” the Celine Dion tribute to Translucent, the super sweet boy band songs [“You’ve Got a License to Drive (Me Crazy)”], the A-Train rap [‘Faster”]. It’s all the same guy. I mean, he’s an unbelievable musical chameleon, and I said I just wanted like this big dumb Disney song as written by Fox News.

And he came up with that, and he went to these huge singers, like every singer of that song is a Tony Award winner, and just with a huge orchestra. He just wanted to blow the doors off it. And I love it. It’s just that whole sequence is one of my very favorite in the history of the entire show.

[Interview edited and condensed for clarity.]

The Boys Season 4 Episodes 1-3 are streaming now on Prime Video. New episodes premiere Thursdays on Prime Video.