There’s only one thing scarier than an evil superhero, and that’s an unhinged evil superhero.
By definition, the word superhero means “a morally righteous hero who possesses extraordinary abilities or supernatural powers and uses them to fight evil”, per Dictionary.com. Homelander from The Boys, the deranged leader of The Seven and laboratory creation of Vought, is far from a superhero, despite his invincibility and status as the most powerful person in the world. While America might see him as a one of the good guys, anyone close to the psychopath knows he’s about as unhinged as the jaws Kimiko tears apart.
More than any other season, the third season of The Boys dives head first into Homelander’s unhinged nature and explores the question of whether or not the Supe can actually be killed. We know Billy Butcher and The Boys want to kill him, but is it actually possible? Here’s what we know.
Can Homelander be killed in The Boys?
Warning: The following contains spoilers for season three of The Boys as well as the ending of the The Boys comics.
In the comics, Homelander’s character is just as diabolical, delusional, and deranged as the TV adaptation, but the one major variation is the conversation around his invincibility. In case you were wondering, yes, Homelander can be killed, and indeed, he does die in the comics. That’s because Vaught, always one step ahead, created a contingency plan to deal with Homelander if the Supe ever went rogue or unraveled beyond repair. In the comics, that contingency plan is Black Noir, one of the members of The Seven, who turns out to be Homelander’s clone.
Black Noir is the only Supe capable of defeating Homelander because in a way, he is Homelander. However, when you look at the TV adaptation of The Boys – specifically season three, episode three “Barbary Coast” – it’s discovered that Black Noir is not Homelander’s clone at all, but instead a young Black man with ninja fighting skills who’s eager to become the next big Supe. In “Barbary Coast” we learn that Black Noir was a part of Payback, the group of Supes active during the 1980s before The Seven was formed. In that episode, we watch Black Noir’s face get burn to a burnt crisp after a brutal shoot out with terrorists set his war campground (and his face) on fire, impling that he is not the same, impervious Black Noir from the comics, and thus not the one to kill Homelander.
Naturally, that brings up the question of how exactly Homelander can be killed if it’s not by Black Noir. Firstly, there’s the conversation of Homelander’s son, Ryan. Ryan was introduced in season two as a kind, sweet boy with a big heart and soft personality. After getting pushed off the roof by Homelander (an awful scene that we don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at) Ryan tapped into his superpowers, which we discover includes laser eyes like his dad. Ryan’s kind hearted nature was further put to the test in season two’s finale when Stormfront pinned his mom, Becca Butcher, against a tree and tried to kill her.
In a desperate attempt to save her, Ryan unleashed his laser eyes, decapitating Stormfront in the process and burning her to an even crispier crisp than Black Noir. Unfortunately, the move also killed his mom. The fact that he was able to practically kill Stormfront when Homelander’s laser eyes only tickled her earlier in the season while they were getting kinky at the top of Vaught Tower is a huge power move for the kid.
Of course, that could’ve been because Homelander dialed down the strength of his laser blast with Stormfront. And even if Ryan had the strength to kill Homelander, he’s unstable with his powers and just a kid. That brings us to the next possibility in the quest to kill Homelander: Soldier Boy.
In the comics, Soldier Boy is very much the Captain America of the series. He has super strength, super speed, masterful use of his shield, and is an expert in hand-to-hand combat. What he doesn’t have is a giant laser beam that shoots out of his chest, a new superpower that emerged as of season three, episode four “Glorious Five Year Plan”. When The Boys traveled to Russia to find the “weapon” that can kill Homelander, they stumbled upon the supposedly deceased Soldier Boy instead.
Much like Wolverine from X-Men, Soldier Boy emerged from an enclosed tank, naked and feral. When he turned his attention to Frenchie, a radioactive laser beam exploded out of his chest. Before it could hit Frenchie, Kimiko shoved him out of the way and was hurled across the room by the blast. However, instead of regenerating as Kimiko is known to do, she bled out in Frenchies arms, seemingly stripped of her super powers.
This new super power of Soldier Boy’s appeared to be the “weapon” The Boys were searching for, as it seemingly stripped Supes of their powers. If Homelander can be killed, Soldier Boy is the clear frontrunner to do it.
Then again, as Homelander said to Annie in season one, “sticks and stones won’t break my bones, but words…” Showrunner Eric Kripke shed some light on Homelander’s human side when asked in an interview with Collider if Homelander had any weaknesses “At the moment there aren’t many physical ones, but there’s so many psychological ones,” Kripke said. “Antony (the actor who plays Homelander) has said many times, and I agree, that Homelander is the weakest character in the show.” Kripke elaborated further by saying:
“He finds his human vulnerability so hateful and he hates that part of him and he tries to subsume it, and yet it is part of who he is. And so he hates a part of him that he can’t ultimately control, and so that kind of leads to a snake’s nest of psychoses. At the moment, that is his current weakness.”
As it stands, the ruling is still out on Homelander’s invincibility. The TV adaptation of The Boys has clearly and cleverly deviated from the comics, which means even though Homelander was killed in the comics, he might not meet the same fate in the show. Instead, we might see him end up trapped in a laser-proof room like the one we saw in season one with the baby who could shoot lasers from its eyes. Or he could kill himself, either by accident or on purpose, another fan theory that’s circulated on fan forums.
Either way, Antony Starr as Homelander is simply too damn good and a show without him isn’t much of a show at all, so while we want him to die, we’d almost prefer him to get humiliated to death, a much more deserved comeuppance that would really hit the unhinged psychopath below the belt.