The influx of superhero-oriented content in pop culture media, especially some of the mediocre ones, has definitely contributed to the ever-increasing popularity of Amazon Prime’s edgy, satirical take on superhero media, The Boys. While poking fun at other franchises by making tongue-in-cheek references, individual performances from the likes of Antony Starr, Karl Urban, and Jack Quaid, hilarious self-awareness, and abundant use of sensationalism with sex and gore might have worked wonders for the series’ reception, to make the franchise overstay its welcome, franchise biz was always needed. Perhaps it was the reason why the makers decided to release a gorier animated series called The Boys Presents: Diabolical last year. And for 2023, they have expanded the canvas further and come up with a live-action spin-off called Gen V. It’s kind of ironic how gradually the franchise is becoming the very thing it used to satirize.
Anyway, as Gen V airs, the question that fans of the franchise will definitely face is: where in the in-universe timeline does the series take place? The impact of the existing canon will inevitably factor in a major way, both in terms of interconnectivity as well as in gaining traction among viewers. Let’s take a look at the updates and other details from the first three episodes to discuss the series’ position in the The Boys timeline and how it is going to impact the overarching narrative in the long run.
What Is ‘Gen V’ Timeline?
Mention of some of the characters of Gen V was already inside in earlier seasons of The Boys, like how Hughie and Starlight’s mission in the Red River Institute teased the presence of Gen V protagonist Marie Moreau, and professor Brinkerhoff was briefly referenced by the racist superhero Blue Hawk in the third season. As a spin-off, Gen V deals with a bunch of superpowered teenagers from the Vought-sponsored superhero training institute, Godolkin University, and follows them as they learn to adapt to the problematic redefinition of heroism. The series takes place in between the third season of The Boys and the upcoming fourth season, and as a result, it simultaneously deals with the aftermath of the crisis at the Seven and sets up the stage for a future storyline. For example, the pilot episode of Gen V began eight years ago with the primetime news of A-train being recruited as the first African American superhero (the public didn’t know Black Noir’s identity) in The Seven, which was broadcast all over.
As we move to the present timeline, Ashley is seen to be the chief controller of Vought International and busy with high-profile cover-ups, thanks to the latest shenanigans of the premier superhero team. The previous season finale showcased Homelander finally shedding his façade to reveal his true psychotic, fascist nature as he killed a civilians in public. Letting go of the last hindrance in the form of public perception allowed him to cut loose—a fact that presumably the fledgling supes at Godolkin know as well, as clarified by the showrunners of the series. Adding to this is the final fight, which has practically ended the Seven as a team, as Maeve and the Boys battled against Homelander and Soldier Boy. Black Noir had died at the hands of Homelander previously; now, with only A-train and the Deep remaining with Homelander as active members of the titular super team, the Seven are reduced to three, and Vought is doubling down on their efforts to recruit heroes to fill in the ranks. An American Idol-style superhero audition was held in the season as well, but the supply was always going to be taken from the ‘manufacturing firm’.
The said firm being God U (not on the nose at all) in the first episode of Gen V, where ace student of Godolkin, Luke Riordan’s selection to the Seven took place with haste. The urgency is palpable when, just hours after Luke died, the search for the next popular candidate was being discussed.
Will We See The Boys’ Character?
Crossovers have become a staple of every franchise nowadays, and making a spin-off series inevitably leads fans to speculate about the possibility of one. As seen in the three episodes so far, Godolkin University has already advertised itself through its prestigious alumni, consisting of the likes of Queen Maeve, the Deep, and A-train (although the last two don’t qualify for that adjective). So far, A-train and the Deep have shared their grief over Brink’s death in a typical Vought-styled cringe video message, but the proverbial big fish are reserved for the later part of the season.
Soldier Boy, the Captain America parody, portrayed by Jensen Ackles in the third season of The Boys, quickly became a fan favorite character, and he will make his appearance in Gen V as well, but in what capacity remains unknown. The last we have seen of him was during the battle with Homelander and eventually with the Boys, which ended with Maeve sacrificing her powers by getting hit with Soldier Boy’s energy blast while the duo fell from Vought Tower. Soldier Boy was rendered unconscious, and Grace Mallory put him into cryosleep once again. Whether he escapes his imprisonment in Gen V or it’s a flashback sequence that remains to be seen, fans will surely be excited for his upcoming appearance. The anti-super congresswoman, Victoria Neuman, who herself is a super and is currently using Homelander to achieve her political aspirations, will appear in the series as well. Although the appearance of any member of the boys team has not been announced yet, with two of their adversaries on the scene and the depraved young supe-filled God U taking center stage, we can hope for Hughie and co. to swing by the university premises as well.