The Boys' Showrunner Talked To Us About That Season 4 Clone Fight, And The Wildest Detail Had Nothing To Do With The Fake Penis

 Close-up on Mother's Milk grimacing in disgust in The Boys Season 4.
Credit: Prime Video

Major spoilers below for anyone who hasn’t watched through the second episode of The Boys Season 4 with an Amazon Prime subscription, so be warned!

Of all the things I expected to see on my TV screen during the first three episodes of The Boys Season 4, none of them were “a self-replicating character played by Rob Benedict getting into a mostly nude brawl with the protagonists.” And yet there it all was right smack in the second episode, with Benedict’s Splinter facing off against Frenchie, Butcher, Mother’s Milk and Kimiko, and it was a dick-swinging good time, amirite?

Kimiko standing in a barn in front of a large pile of hay in The Boys Season 4
Kimiko standing in a barn in front of a large pile of hay in The Boys Season 4

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I talked to showrunner Eric Kripke ahead of the fourth season’s three-episode debut, and he shared some very interesting details about how that scene came together. And the thing that blew my mind the most was just how long it was. No, no, not the penis dangling from Rob Benedict’s midsection, but the length of the process it took to make this sequence come together. When I asked Kripke how complicated a process it was, here’s what he told me:

Well, I mean, unbelievably complicated. I think it was eight days of shooting, which for a TV show is quite a lot. But the thing that made it most complicated is it's all of The Boys and they're only fighting Rob, you know? Like every single time, it's Rob, and you had to recreate it, and he had to know every single move. All the VFX to put two of them in the same scene, three of them in the same scene, nine of them in the same scene, and it's always one actor. So you have to shoot it, and then cut, and then put him in the next position, and then cut. It's just an unbelievably complicated game of smoke and mirrors.

Even if Eric Kripke was unwittingly exaggerating and only meant seven days, that’s still a week or more of filming a single sequence that only lasts a few minutes within the episode itself. (Though its impact on one’s memory obviously goes on much longer, similar to the pseudo-trauma felt by the exploding dong in the Season 3 premiere.) In comparison, the majority of broadcast network series film entire episodes in that same amount of time.

Granted, literally none of those shows feature a half-dozen naked Rob Benedicts getting shot in the head and/or slammed through tables, so it’s probably not a fair comparison to make. But network TV also doesn’t let anybody get away with showing full frontal male nudity, even if the nudity isn’t 100% genuine. Understandably, Eric Kripke explained that Splinter’s manhood was as fake as the news being bandied about at the Truth Con, saying:

The nudity, honestly, he's actually wearing a prosthetic penis. So for what it's worth, it's more like a speedo with just a rubber penis in the front, just because he had to go eight days like that.

Much as it went with the faux genitalia in the aforementioned Season 3 opener, as well as Gen V’s oversized prosthetic penis, The Boys didn’t actually show off the Supernatural vet’s nether region. But that didn’t exactly make his job any easier, since that was all he was wearing during that extensive shoot.

Eric Kripke shouted out the leaders of the extremely talented teams of stunt performers and visual effects artists, as well as the director who took on such a lofty challenge with this episode.

John Koyama, who's our stunt coordinator, and Karen Gaviola, who's the director, and Stephan Fleet, who' s the VFX coordinator — they just worked in lockstep for months and months figuring out exactly how to pull this off, and that was insane. . . . But technically, it's an amazing sequence and the fact that you just buy it and you think like, oh, the Boys are just up against a swarm of clones — the fact that we sell that illusion is really impressive.

Let's not forget that Stephan Fleet & Co. were nominated for a Virtual Effects Society award for the Season 3 penis, though it lost to Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. Here's hoping the naked clone fight can be the one to bring it home for them.

Rob Benedict's clone Splinter with a crowbar shoved up through his chin and out of his forehead in The Boys Season 4
Rob Benedict's clone Splinter with a crowbar shoved up through his chin and out of his forehead in The Boys Season 4

Almost surprisingly for a sequence that featured lots of clone death, it was revealed that all of the Splinter clones ceased to live once the original was killed. Which made for a weirdly uncomfortable moment when the last living clone died. But don't expect any sympathy from Eric Kripke, who hilariously summed it up with:

You know, that character was really an asshole. [Laughs.] He didn’t deserve to live.

Can't argue with that. As fun and fantastic as Valorie Curry's Firecracker is, that character is a monster, and anyone so desperately infatuated with her (and himself) is on the same monstrous wavelength. R.I.Penis, Splinter.

While critics may be split on the fourth season of The Boys, I’ll probably never get tired of watching this twisted ass universe, regardless of how disturbingly reflective its stories and characters get. Granted, there’s only one more season on the way, but Kripke told us it’s building to an epic battle, so I can’t gripe too much about it not lasting forever.

New episodes will be available to stream on Prime Video every Thursday. Head to our 2024 TV premiere schedule to see what else is on the way soon.