SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details of the Gen V Season 1 finale episode “The Guardians of Godolkin,” which debuted Friday on Prime Video.
“You took that blast like a f*ckin’ champ,” Gen V’s Andre Anderson (Chance Perdomo) tells Marie Moreau (Jaz Sinclair) at the end of the Season 1 finale, which debuted Friday on Prime Video. “Anyone else would be in the ground,” the young superhero adds as he, the hemokinetic Marie, Emma Meyer (Lizze Broadway) and Jordan Li (London Thor/Derek Luh) find themselves trapped in what appears to be an underground medical facility with no doors.
More from Deadline
Directed by Sanaa Hamri and penned by Brant Englestein, the bloody and betrayal-filled season ender of The Boys’ college-based spinoff is both a handoff to the fourth season of The Boys and to the recently renewed Gen V’s Season 2. With chaos on campus, the Woods unlocked, a red-hot cameo by flagship series lead Antony Starr’s Homelander and an end-credits appearance by fellow Boys star Karl Urban’s Butcher, “The Guardians of Godolkin” is also a ton of angsty fun and deeply disturbing and emotional at the same time – as fans would expect.
“It’s the overall philosophy of everything in this universe, which is get as outrageous as you can get and as big as you can get and as boring as you can get,” showrunner Michele Fazekas said. “You don’t treat it like a joke. You treat it like you the underpinnings of real drama.”
In this case, that real drama involves the specter and horrors of school shootings, media narratives and corporate control to name a few.
Fazekas and Gen V co-creator Eric Kripke, who doubles as the showrunner for The Boys, recently chatted with me and laid out the serious path to today’s Season 1 finale and the power of metaphor. The duo also offered hints at what is to come in Season 2, the use of a certain virus in Season 4 of The Boys, and the connections between the shows.
DEADLINE: You end the season with a virus that kills supes in the hands of some pretty ambitious people and double Boys appearances, as Homelander and Butcher are both on campus, so to speak, in their own way. So, what’s the plan?
ERIC KRIPKE: You know, I don’t think it’s a big Season 2 spoiler to say that the virus plays a substantial story role moving forward. Now, there’s this potential disease out there that can potentially kill superheroes. We always knew that it was going to play a part of The Boys next season and we always knew that Butcher was going to be aware of it. As they were still shooting, I made my pitch to their room: can we bring Butcher?
MICHELE FAZEKAS: Yes!
KRIPKE: So, rather than Butcher just talking about it in dialogue in Season 4 of The Boys, it’d be good for the audience to actually see it and him.
DEADLINE: Speaking of the audience, seeing the reaction to Gen V has been, I guess you could say, visceral – maybe even more so than The Boys, or because of it. Michele, were you surprised by the reaction to the show?
FAZEKAS: Meeting people and hearing about people who were not Boys fans being fans of Gen V.
FAZEKAS: Yes, people would say, “I’ve never seen The Boys, but oh my god, I’m watching Gen V and it’s great. Also, another surprise was meeting people outside of the quote unquote target demographic. People like my mom was like, I like it, or like people like my son’s batting coach who’s like, what’s the name of the show that you are doing – I really like it. That to me is a really big compliment to Eric and Evan [Goldberg], who are creating the show, and the writers were writing the show, where it’s like you can have as Vought would say a four-quadrant appeal, appealing to a truly broad audience.
DEADLINE: In the realm of surprises, or rather not big surprises, it’s now official that Gen V is coming back for another season, Are we going to see a direct pickup from Season 1’s end?
FAZEKAS: I can’t tell you what we’re going to see at the top of the season, but here’s the thing: We had a writers room going before the writers strike. We didn’t have an official pickup, but they said you can start talking about the story. So, we have a general idea of what the second season is going to be about, and sort of what the themes are going to be about, and we’re in the middle of breaking episodes.
KRIPKE: I would also say, timeline wise, you go from Season 3 of The Boys into Season 1 of Gen V — maybe a little time in between them, but basically a continuous timeline. Season 1 of Gen V hands off to Season 4 of The Boys.
DEADLINE: This sounds very Marvel …
KRIPKE: (laughs) Then Season 4 of The Boys will end off in the timeline of Season 2 of Gen V. So, we’re not at that Marvel stage yet where we have to go back on ourselves and double up or triple our timeline.
FAZEKAS: Having worked in the Marvel Universe on Agent Carter, I’ve seen it where the mythology gets so complicated that you forget what it is. I feel like Eric’s done a great job of sort of keeping the shows separate but connected. There’s continuity between them, but we didn’t rely really heavily on The Boys. I think that’s why people are watching it who don’t watch The Boys because they don’t feel like they, as Eric says, have to do homework to be able to watch that show.
DEADLINE: Well, it now seems so self-evident that The Boys and the Vought universe works so well in the YA genre, it’s a natural transition. Certainly, the overflow of hormones becomes the metaphor for the overflow of power and identity creation, as does the proliferation of social media – and then there’s the trajectory of those stories. So, what was the emotional hook you latched on to in creating and executing Gen. V?
KRIPKE: As you rightfully said, the powers are a metaphor, just like any good genre is metaphor. In The Boys, if the power is about fascism and authoritarianism and celebrity, here, we wanted the powers to be metaphors for what young adults were really going through. In a much more down-to-the-ground, psychological level of what are they struggling with. So, eating disorders and cutting, issues with gender fluidity and pressures to succeed.
We always talk about in The Boys that we take an idea and then we supify it. So, in Gen V we were taking these very real emotional issues, rather than societal, and supifying them. I think that’s what created, in its own way, this really relatable show.
KRIPKE: Because I think people really connect emotionally to what these characters are going through. You know that even though they have superpowers, the superpowers are just revealing how f*cked up they are psychologically, like everybody.
DEADLINE: You say that, and I look at the conversation between Andre and Cate (Maddie Phillips) outside where he is trying to get her to stop the rampage by the supes that were being experimented on, locked up in cells under Godolkin University. He wants to connect with her, he sees a good in her, but she ultimately tries to trick him to control him and things go from bad to bloody worse…
FAZEKAS: I think that conversation between Andre and Cate is really is a central theme of the show. When he when he’s talking about like when we try and do things separate from each other is when everything gets f*cked up, but when we are together, that’s when we can actually make a difference. That’s when we can be happy – and, I think that was sort of one of Marie’s big journeys in this season where she’s been solo for so long. That they all sort of learned you can’t be solo, you cannot go through life. You have to help each other, even as Vought wants to divide you because you’re much easier to control. It’s a bit like how the studios negotiate with the unions, right? They try to divide us.
DEADLINE: Nicely done.
FAZEKAS: (laughs) Thank you. You know, Cate’s not crazy or just straight up evil or wrong. She was f*cked over by humans consistently, so she’s somewhat been broken. She’s crossed the line and you’re hurting people and stuff, but on one level, I don’t even fault her. She got broken by this system. And I think that’s what Andre is realizing – can’t you just like come with us and it’s like she’s somewhat past the point, at least in this season. She’s past the point of no return.
DEADLINE: So, in a series that truly swings from the comedic to the very dramatic, how does that play out?
FAZEKAS: It’s the overall philosophy of everything in this universe, which is get as outrageous as you can get and as big as you can get and as boring as you can get. You don’t treat it like a joke. You treat it like the underpinnings of real drama. Understanding what the metaphor is. And you’re not making a joke about the metaphor. This is what you’re doing – and be really clear on that.
KRIPKE: I think that’s totally right. I mean, look, it’s one of the brands of this universe that we don’t shy away from controversial stuff. In fact, we do just the opposite, we run headlong into it. So, in this case, I don’t think we set out to say we really want to tell a school-shooting story. It came from the characters …
FAZEKAS: We look at a story and say, the one thing you can’t do is X. So, here the one thing you can’t do is open up the Woods and let everybody out — and then we end up just doing that. That’s where it started to feel like, “Oh, if it’s just people running murderously around campus,” you start to go, “Oh, school shooting …”
KRIPKE: And then once you hit that, it becomes inevitable. Then so instead of trying to downplay it, you lean into it, as Michele said, You lean into it. Seriously, you know if you don’t lean into it like it’s going to be a joke and we’re going make light and hilarious. So no, you lean into it as the horrifically foreboding event that it is. I think if the audience senses that you’re taking it seriously, then I think they tend to go with you.
DEADLINE: Following that, what are the ideas you have for Season 2?
FAZEKAS: As Eric says, it comes from the story and the characters. We never start with how outrageous we can be, we ground it in what are the characters want to do, what the characters want to feel. What do they want? For Season 2, I do have one idea, but it’s more of a scene that than something outrageous.
KRIPKE: (laughs) Some may say that our copious amounts of semen are the glaze on top of a cake that we very carefully bake.
Best of Deadline