The Boys Star Karl Urban On Whether Butcher Has Crossed A Line [Exclusive]

"The Boys" is many things, but it is not a very optimistic show. It is hilarious, thrilling, action-packed, and very, very gross, but the series works as biting satire because it looks at the reality of our world and laughs at it — not necessarily because it sees a bright way out of this nightmare.

After two seasons of devastating losses, fights against psychopathic superpowered killers, and even literal nazis, "The Boys" enters season 3 on a rather bright vibe — one that doesn't last very long, of course. Still, while the titular Boys cannot catch a break in their fight against superheroes, they do gain one secret weapon that can help level the playing field: Superpowers. That's right, when fighting fire with fire isn't enough, you add laser eyes and super strength.

How far are you willing to go?

Even if it helps him to beat the living crap out of supes, gaining superpowers is one step too far for Butcher, who supposedly hates superheroes more than anything on the planet. Sure, he's done horrible things before. He's mistreated his friends and co-workers; he's tortured, maimed, and mercilessly killed countless people; he's conned, lied, and manipulated everyone he knows. To become the very thing he swore to defeat is too much. But is it a surprising turn?

During an interview with /Film leading up to the season premiere, Karl Urban opened up about the series of very dark decisions Billy Butcher makes this season, and whether Butcher crossed a line when injecting himself with the temporary Compound V.

"Line? What line? [laughs] Yeah, listen, I feel like actually every character is presented with that moral dilemma this season, like, 'How far are you willing to go?' And definitely in Butcher's case, he is pretty frustrated with the inertia that is going on and he finds a way to level the playing field, and it comes at a cost. Those scenes were really fun to play."

Rewards and punishments

As for his actual powers, it is fitting that Butcher becomes a sort of minor Homelander. He cannot fly, but he is super strong, seemingly invincible, and capable of shooting laser beams out of his eyes. He is quite literally becoming that which he sought to destroy. As Urban mentioned, this season's theme seems to be the question of "How far are you willing to go?" with characters throwing around the phrase "Whatever it takes" every 10 minutes or so to justify their actions — no matter how vile. 

The thing is, it's hard not to at least somewhat agree with Butcher and Hughie, especially as they learn the truth about congresswoman Neuman having powers. In a world where those in power quite literally have powers beyond regular people's dreams, how the hell can you defeat them if they misbehave? Of course, the answer is more complicated than a surface reading might suggest, and as Urban teases, actions have consequences in the world of "The Boys."

"It was fun to play in that sandbox and to work with the special effects guys and the practical effects guys and imbue the character with these superpowers. Then also as an actor to deal with the consequence of that, and in true Kripke fashion, when characters make the right choice, they get rewarded. And when they make the wrong choice, they get punished. That's true of a lot of characters in the show this season."

"The Boys" season 3 is now streaming on Prime Video, with new episodes premiering every Friday.