Eric Kripke on Why ‘The Boys’ Is Ending With Season 5

It’s the beginning of the end for The Boys.

The adult superhero universe of humans vs. supes (as superheroes are called in the series) will soon come to end after season five, showrunner Eric Kripke announced on Tuesday, just two days before the hit Amazon series prepares to launch its fourth season with a three-episode premiere.

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On his social media, Kripke announced his intentions to the fanbase by putting up a final script page for the forthcoming finale of season four. After redacting the script, the bottom of the page read: “SEE YOU FOR OUR FINAL SEASON, MOTHERFUCKERS!”

So, why is the creator of such a widely popular (and timely) satirical series about superheroes ready to pull the plug? In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter later on Tuesday, Kripke had a big grin on his face in anticipation of being asked that question.

“From the very beginning, I wanted to wrap it out around season five,” Kripke tells THR. “And then I would say plans really solidified that we were going to actually do it years ago. I think we were probably in the middle of making season three, so it could have been three or four years ago that we always knew.

“I don’t know why I like the number five so much; it’s a good round number to where you get enough,” he continues. “It might have been because I was trained as a TV writer and there were five acts. It gives you enough time to get to know the characters. You can have your calm-before-the-storm moment, which is kind of what season four is for me. I say calm… you know what I mean. It’s about the characters and then you kick off into a climax.”

The Boys is about a group of vigilante fighters led by Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) who chase and try to kill various rampaging, rogue superheroes known as supes, the most powerful one being the Trump-esque Homelander (Antony Starr). Homelander sees mortals as toys to play with, or murder; a superiority complex is putting it lightly.

But there is even greater animosity between Butcher and Homelander, as the latter is believed to have raped Butcher’s wife. This led to Butcher’s wife having Homelander’s supe baby that the government hid from Homelander for years. When he finally found the child, the boy accidentally killed his mother with his superpowers when trying to protect her.

“The show is a serialized story that is about Butcher and Homelander slowly crashing into each other, and the show doesn’t work without either of those,” Kripke adds. “So, you just can’t keep that going on forever, you have to let them smash into each other.”

Although The Boys will end after season five, its universe will continue on with spinoff shows such as last year’s debut Gen V, the animated anthology Diabolical and a couple other projects that are in developmental stages, Kripke recently shared.

Ahead of Tuesday’s news, Kripke had spoken with THR for a Producer of the Year chat where he said that, due to the success of the series, The Boys is powering on as a franchise even with media companies cutting back. “We’ve been lucky in that The Boys has become one of their flagships,” he said of Amazon. “We get a level of freedom that it’ll be hard to repeat anywhere. That said, we have budget battles. But, ultimately, we figure out a way. We made Gen V for a lot less money, and there’s a target that we have to hit on that show — whether we like it or not. There’s a couple of things in development. You have to pre-negotiate the budgets, and those budgets are a lot tighter than what we’ve had in the past. So, we’re feeling it.”

Speaking now after the season five announcement, he says, “Look, I love this universe and this is the best job I’ve ever had; so, hopefully Gen V will continue. It’s just this particular story, the Butcher vs. Homelander story, that needs to come to a close. But I think this universe is a big one, and I think there’s room for other stories and other corners of it.”

And how exactly will season five end the saga of Butcher vs. Homelander, or the Boys vs the Supes? Does Kripke envision that final chapter? Kind of.

“I know in a rough way,” Kripke says. “We very intentionally leave a lot of space in there for the writers to surprise me and to take a left turn if we feel like it. I don’t totally know how we’re going to get there, but I know the destination.”

The Boys season four launches on Prime Video June 13.

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