Before The Boys premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019, Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s comic book wasn’t exactly well-known outside of traditional geek circles. But now, the show and its characters have become a cultural phenomenon. It even received an Emmy nod for Outstanding Drama Series. But bringing the original comic to the small screen wasn’t always the plan. A film adaptation languished in development hell for years before Amazon swooped in to save the day. Executive producer Seth Rogen was there from the very beginning. During his third appearance on First We Feast’s Hot Ones series, Rogen detailed his earliest efforts to turn The Boys into a movie. He also explained why it ultimately didn’t work out.
News of a Boys adaptation first made the rounds in 2008 when Columbia Pictures secured the comic’s big-screen rights. A few years later, the film moved to Paramount, with Adam McKay circling the director’s chair and Phil Hay and Matt Manfredi writing the script. By 2016, the project had been re-worked into a TV series with Rogen and Evan Goldberg working alongside showrunner Eric Kripke. Surprisingly, the studio(s) didn’t ask Rogen and Goldberg to be directly involved right from the start. But it sounds like that changed after the pair’s success with another Ennis property, Preacher.
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“Something like The Boys was obvious to us,” said Rogen. “It’s a funny journey with the comic. Me and Evan, we’re big fans of Garth Ennis. He wrote the comic and he wrote Preacher as well. We bought the first issue when it came out and we were like, ‘Oh my god, this would make a great movie. Regular people fighting superheroes.’ We brought it to Sony and Neal Moritz, the producer. And they were like, ‘Yeah, this would make an incredible movie. We’ll buy the rights to it.’ Then they did and they did not hire us to write it or produce it in any way shape or form. They hired other people to do that. And after like a decade of those people f***ing it up in some shape or form, it came back to us and we turned it into the TV show.”
In the end, it’s probably for the best that the series took as long as it did to get made. The increased prevalence of superhero films definitely makes the satirical elements more effective. And in Rogen’s view, this is why the show has been a hit.
“I think people love superhero stuff and Marvel is obviously very popular and makes great films and TV shows,” added Rogen. “But there are certain things they can’t do. It would be too damaging to their brand to have a character kill someone with their 10-foot d**k. So as long as they’re not doing that, it leaves a great opportunity for us to do that.”
The Boys season 3 hits Amazon Prime on June 3. Fans can also return to the show’s universe with the new animated anthology series, The Boys: Diabolical, on March 4.
Do you think the comic could have worked better as a movie? Let us know in the comments down below!
Recommended Reading: The Boys Omnibus Vol. 1
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