Of course, the new season of Amazon’s The Boys opens with a film parody. Of course, the events are fake, the lines delivered robotically, the scene so bitingly meta that you either roll your eyes or just stupid grin. The target is Marvel. And DC. Of course, of course, of course.
But while so far, The Boys has only satirized these comic publishers from afar, this season opens with a crossover—a Marvel actor playing the part of Stormfront in the in-universe film Dawn of the Seven. That actor: Charlize Theron. (Yes, actually Charlize Theron. We’ll explain in a bit.)
The film attempts to sanitize events of the previous season, when Homelander entered into a love affair with a literal Nazi and white supremacist stan. The Dawn of the Seven, like every other film in The Boys universe, acts as PR-approved messaging, maintaining the illusion that The Seven are cinematically heroic, and not actually murderous and psychopathic. It’s basically propaganda. For viewers of The Boys, it equates the superhero with the celebrity. It’s making fun of everything.
Which is why seeing Theron in the part adds another layer to the parody—an actual Marvel actor (in our universe) playing the Nazi Stormfront in a recreated version of a fictional universe.
“You’ll always be in my heart, but the Fourth Reich is in my soul,” she tells Homelander (played by Homelander—played by Antony Starr).
In an interview with RadioTimes.com, showrunner Erik Kripke explained how the Charlize cameo came together. The reason: Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg. Theron apparently agreed to appear as a favor to Rogen and Goldberg, executive producers on The Boys. Both had worked with Theron on 2019’s Long Shot—where Rogen played Theron’s childhood crush.
Kripke broke down how the team made the scene happen.
“She was such a great sport because, honestly, I think she probably assumed it was a couple hours in front of a green screen. And then the minute she agreed, her phone started ringing with, ‘Okay, we need to bring her in for her super suit fittings,’ because she’s a lot taller than Aya Cash [who plays Stormfront].
“So we had to design and create a whole new super suit. We shot her side of the scene in LA, and then Homelander’s side of the scene in Toronto, so they never met. But we ended up building that entire side of the set, so the poor woman, I think she showed up thinking it was you just bang this out and go, and she sees that a whole set is built with a whole camera crew.
“She’s probably like, ‘oh, shit, there goes my whole day.’ But she was so lovely and such a good sport and so funny. The straightness with which she delivers the most ridiculous lines… she has such a lovely and dry sense of humor.”
Theron’s delivery is purposefully wooden, as is the rest of the cast’s acting. The scene is satire within satire—The Boys itself a series parodying superhero and celebrity worship. The Dawn of the Seven is a parody inside the parody, a moment wherein we watch the superheroes watch themselves (and so, in a sense, watch ourselves watching superhero movies). The point is that we’re supposed to find it all kind of ridiculous. Or at least realize that we ought to find it somewhat ridiculous.
While The Boys lambasts Marvel and DC, it’s still all in good fun. Theron herself is obviously not “above” mainstream superhero cinema. She recently appeared in a post-credits’ scene in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, teasing a future role as Clea Strange. That makes Theron officially a Marvel actor—and one of the most notable ones at that.
Her appearance in The Boys is not without a big scoop of self-awareness.
Now time for Antony Starr to show up in the next Doctor Strange.
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