This series never stops pushing the envelope.
As a satire of superhero media, it should come as no surprise that the premiere of The Boys season 3 last Friday brought with it scenes inspired by stories created by Marvel and DC. But what may surprise you to learn is that perhaps the most darkly humorous, goriest, and disturbing scenes in the season 3 premiere — perhaps in the entire series — was inspired by 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Or, to be more precise it was inspired by what fans theorized should happen in the event film. From here on out we not only have to warn you about spoilers, but considering the scene in question — and if you’ve seen it, no doubt you know exactly what we mean — we need to warn it’s gross even by The Boys standards, and there’s no way to explain it without including some pretty explicit detail.
In “Payback” — The Boys season 3 premiere episode — Frenchie (Tomer Kapon) and Kimiko (Karen Fukuhara) are tailing Termite (Brett Geddes), a supe with powers comparable to those of Marvel’s Ant-Man. Along with Butcher (Karl Urban), they follow Termite to a party where, when we first see him, he’s shrunk down to doll size and is pretending to have sex with a female Barbie-like doll. Later, after going to a bedroom with another man and snorting a lot of cocaine, Termite — at his partner’s request — shrinks down small enough to enter his partner’s penis. Unfortunately, while he’s inside, he sneezes which activates his change back to full size. The abrupt size change instantly kills his partner who basically explodes from the waist down. Speaking to Polygon, The Boys showrunner Eric Kripke confirmed the scene was inspired by the so-called “Thanus” meme, which found Marvel fans arguing that Paul Rudd’s Ant-Man should kill Josh Brolin’s Thanos by entering the Titan’s butt as ant-size, and then instantly grow to giant size. You can see a video recreation of this theory below.
“At the time there was that meme of like, why doesn’t Ant-Man just go up Thanos’ butt and blow him up, right?” Eric Kripke recalled. “And so we said, Well, let’s give the audience that, because we can give them the thing that they want. But Marvel can’t, just simply can’t, give them.” In case you’re wondering, there is a reason why — in spite of The Boys season 3 scene being inspired by the “Thanus” theory — Termite goes in the front rather than the back. Kripke explained that once the idea came up, one The Boys writer pointed out there was already a “butt explosion” in season 1 of the show: Hughie (Jack Quaid) kills the supe Translucent (Alex Hassell) by detonating an explosive device in his butt. And so, it was decided Termite needed a, well… a different entry point.
While he was speaking to Polygon about The Boys season 3, Kripke also pointed out that in the shot when Termite enters his partner’s member, that while the visual effects team “sweetened” the shot, viewers actually saw what Kripke called “a practical penis.” In other words, it wasn’t all digital — actor Brett Geddes who plays Termite actually enters a large structure built to look like a massive penis. Kripke said the structure is “11 feet high and 20 feet long, built at great expense.” Did you think today you’d read about the showrunner of a big budget superhero series talk about a penis the same way Richard Attenborough’s Jurassic Park character talks about dinosaurs? We didn’t think so.