"There was a draft of the script where he was dead."
As if The Boys' season three finale didn't make our jaws drop to the floor enough, showrunner Eric Kripke's revelation to E! News that the Amazon Prime Video series was going to kill off a major character permanently unhinged our bone from our face. (Yes, we are considering legal action.) Warning: Major spoilers ahead! Proceed with more caution than a cow within 50-feet of Homelander.
That character? Jensen Ackles' Soldier Boy, who ultimately ended the episode being put back on ice (a.k.a. in an induced coma à la Captain America).
So what inspired the last-minute switch? "It was fan service!" the executive producer joked as a nod to Ackles' devoted followers from his 15-season run on The CW's Supernatural, which Kripke created.
In reality, there were several reasons why Soldier Boy—who was revealed to be Homelander's biological father in the July 1 episode, resulting in a dramatic showdown between the two supes in the finale—ultimately survived.
"Never close a door if you don't have to," Kripke explained. "That's an old showrunner rule, going way back. You never know who can come back or not, so never shut off your options."
The other rationale behind his fate involved Queen Maeve (Dominique McElligott), who sacrificed herself by jumping off the tower with him. While the world is led to believe she died, Maeve actually survived the fall and is going off the grid with her girlfriend Elena (Nicola Correia-Damude), though she's lost her powers.
"It was always the plan and super important that Maeve survive," Kripke told E!. "I was not going to be the show that killed off a LGBTQ character. That was not going to be this show because I really agree that it's a shitty trope."
However, it was, as Kripke put it, "confusing" from a storytelling standpoint.
"We were like, 'Well, she survives but he doesn't?'" he continued. "And so it made a lot more sense to put him on ice and send her off to a happy ending."
For now, anyway.
The Boys will return for a fourth season on Amazon Prime Video.