Homelander is one of the most unstable superheroes in The Boys, but his life and the world around him would have been very different if his biological father had raised him instead of Vought. The Boys season 3 premiered in June 2022, introducing many new Supes to the roster, including Supernatural star Jensen Ackles as Golden Age hero Soldier Boy. Escaping from Russian capture, Soldier Boy finds himself working with Karl Urban’s vengeful Billy Butcher to take down Homelander (Antony Starr) once and for all.
The Boys season 3 continues with Butcher’s vendetta against the Supes, particularly Homelander who had raped and caused the death of Butcher’s wife, Becca (Shantel VanSanten). To help with his plan to kill Homelander, Butcher enlists the help of Soldier Boy, a long-thought dead hero who had in fact undergone experimentation that gave him new powers strong enough to de-power other Supes and potentially kill Homelander. As they track down Soldier Boy’s old team, Payback, wiping them out one-by-one, Homelander becomes even more unhinged throughout the season, crumbling under the pressure from Vought and the other members of the Seven.
It’s revealed in The Boys season 3, episode 7, “Here Comes a Candle to Light You to Bed,” that Soldier Boy is actually Homelander’s biological father. Previous seasons of The Boys have given audiences a little insight into Homelander’s cold and unloving upbringing at the hands of Vought, always seeming to avoid answering the question of who his real parents are. This revelation raises some interesting questions about what would have happened had Homelander been raised by his biological father and not by a corporation.
Why Soldier Boy Couldn’t Raise Homelander
Vought has had some extremely questionable tactics when manufacturing and promoting Supes, with Homelander’s upbringing being the prime example. Homelander was borne from a semen sample collected from Soldier Boy in 1980 under the guise of studying the genetics of America’s first superhero. The young Homelander, named John by Vought scientist Jonah Vogelbaum, was kept hidden from Soldier Boy before his capture in 1984, only being revealed to him by Mindstorm (Ryan Blakely) in The Boys season 3, episode 7.
Obviously Soldier Boy had been absent for the majority of Homelander’s life due to him being imprisoned and experimented on in Russia, meaning it was impossible for him to raise his own son anyway. But it’s unknown whether Vought would have ever revealed Soldier Boy’s parenthood had things gone differently in Nicaragua. It’s unfortunate that Homelander was raised in a laboratory environment as his cold upbringing certainly had a hand in making him such an egotistical and unstable adult, with Vogelbaum himself suggesting that it was the lack of a parent figure that made Homelander so violent, aggressive, and hateful.
Soldier Boy Would Have Raised Homelander Very Differently To Vought
Despite Homelander’s awful upbringing under Vought’s control, there’s no reason to believe that Soldier Boy’s parenting would’ve been any better – in fact, it could’ve just been a different kind of terrible. As a child, Soldier Boy had a tumultuous relationship with his own father who always found his son to be a disappointment and thought he’d cheated by taking the new big thing: Compound V. This absent but belittling parenting instilled harsh behaviors in Soldier Boy that would’ve probably been replicated with his own son had he been able to raise Homelander.
Having said that, the fact that Vogelbaum believed that it was the lack of a parent figure that made Homelander such an angry adult might suggest that Soldier Boy’s influence during Homelander’s childhood would’ve had a positive effect on the hero. The presence of a child in Soldier Boy’s life might have also made Soldier Boy less apathetic, perhaps giving him a greater sense of responsibility and making him a more genuine hero instead of just playing the good hero role for Vought’s reputation. It’s certain that a father figure in Homelander’s childhood would’ve had an effect on the young Supe, but whether he would be better or worse is another question.
Would Homelander Be More Or Less Evil If He Was Raised By Soldier Boy?
Throughout The Boys, Homelander has been shown to be sincere and inspirational on the surface, but secretly harbors hatred towards normal humans, thinking them below him, and expresses deep sociopathic behaviors. This certainly stems from his childhood being raised in a Vought laboratory, but it’s uncertain whether Soldier Boy’s involvement as a parent would’ve made Homelander more evil or less. Considering Soldier Boy’s own apathy and recklessness, it stands to reason that Homelander would have just become a different kind of evil.
Instead of the Supe corrupted by the power of a massive corporation, a Homelander raised by Soldier Boy probably would have displayed much of the same arrogant, macho, and egotistical behavior as his biological father. Homelander would certainly be more inclined to get down and dirty with the often deplorable acts that other Supes take part in, such as the drugs and sex that are commonplace among other Supes. Even though a Homelander raised with a parental figure may have more human flaws than the emotionless version shown in The Boys, he would surely still be as abusive and belligerent, following in his father’s footsteps.
Vought Would Have Lost Their Golden Child
Homelander was originally created by Vought to be Soldier Boy’s replacement – a home-grown hero instilled with true American values who is stronger than his predecessor. Obviously for this plan to work, Vought would have needed Soldier Boy out of the way. If Soldier Boy had been around during Homelander’s childhood, Vought wouldn’t have had the opportunity to control and corrupt the young hero as much as they’d like, which would spell bad news for the future of the corporation.
It could be argued that a lot of Vought’s modern-day success has come at the hands of Homelander. His patriotism and God-fearing attitude in the public eye please the masses, meaning the corporation’s plan to grow their own beloved mascot has worked at keeping their ratings and funding at a high. It would have had a hugely negative effect on Vought’s popularity if Soldier Boy had been around to affect the young Homelander – there’s no promise that Soldier Boy’s influence would have had a positive effect on the child, and losing their golden child and money-maker wouldn’t be a risk that Vought would be willing to take.
The Seven Might Actually Be A Force For Good
In The Boys Presents: Diabolical season 1, episode 8, “One Plus One Equals Two,” viewers are given a glimpse at Homelander’s introduction into the Seven, Vought’s most powerful superhero team. It’s shown that Black Noir, and presumably the rest of the team by extension, were already corrupt drones working only to boost Vought’s stock prices before Homelander’s appointment as the leader of the team. Despite this, it can be assumed that if Homelander had received a bit of TLC in his childhood, he would have been a much more empathetic leader for the Seven.
It’s also possible that Homelander might not have ever been appointed as leader of the Seven if Soldier Boy had been a true father to him. Vought’s entire plan with Homelander was to make him the perfect poster-hero, the only clear choice for the leader of the Seven as he would do any bidding of the corporation that created and raised him. If this plan was disrupted by Soldier Boy’s parenting, Homelander probably wouldn’t have ever shared the same values as Vought, perhaps being better fitted to ridiculous teams like Payback. If he’d never become leader, that would leave room for more gracious Supes such as Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott) and Starlight (Erin Moriarty) to take over the team and act as a force for good.
Billy & Becca Butcher Would Still Be Happy
Homelander and Vought are solely responsible for the terrible fate of Billy and Becca Butcher’s relationship. Becca Butcher once worked as the Senior Director of Digital Marketing at Vought International, coming into regular contact with many Supes, including Homelander. In The Boys season 1, episode 7, “The Self-Preservation Society,” it’s revealed that after Homelander raped Becca, she fell pregnant with his child, forcing Vought to hide the mother-to-be, effectively ending her relationship with Butcher.
If Soldier Boy’s presence in Homelander’s childhood had had a positive effect and made the young Supe a more emotional and caring man, it’s possible that he never would have used his authority and power to violate Becca. This not only has greater implications for the wider world of The Boys, such as the absence of Homelander’s son, Ryan (Cameron Crovetti), but means that Becca and Butcher would probably still be happily married. It’s almost heartbreaking to imagine a world where Butcher and Becca were never torn apart.
The Boys Wouldn’t Exist If Soldier Boy Raised Homelander
Leading on from that, if Homelander had never raped Becca, causing Vought to keep her hidden, Butcher wouldn’t have such a relentless vendetta against the Supes, Homelander in particular. During Vought’s Christmas party flashback in The Boys season 1, episode 7, Butcher seems more than comfortable mixing with Becca’s colleagues and the Supes, suggesting that Homelander’s violation was in fact the catalyst that started Butcher’s hatred towards super-powered people. This means that, if Homelander had had a positive influence from his biological father in his childhood, the Boys themselves might never have been formed.
So, even though Soldier Boy was only introduced in The Boys during season 3, it seems his presence (or lack thereof) has had an impact long before the beginning of season 1. It’s interesting to imagine how many horrible atrocities would have been avoided if Homelander had a loving and supportive upbringing rather than the clinical and inattentive childhood he had at the hands of Vought. The Boys would have been a very different show had the young Homelander had the simple influence of his real father.
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