TV

Why Can’t Some Boys Fans Recognize Homelander Is a Villain?


Don’t mistake a villain for an antihero when it comes to Homelander on The Boys.

Homelander (Antony Starr) in The Boys season 3.
Photo: Prime Video

The sheer number of reasons to watch Prime Video’s golden child program, The Boys seem to know no bounds. With impeccable acting, ingenious satire, and plenty of phallic double entendres, showrunner Eric Kripke and his team understand the intricacies of an entertaining superhero romp better than even genre veterans Marvel and DC. Perhaps standing out as the pinnacle of the program, though, is The Homelander. 

Played with villainous thirst and supreme timing by Antony Starr (who’s criminally never even been nominated for an Emmy for the role), Homelander spoofs the worst qualities of heroes such as Captain America and Superman to give audiences a taste of what it would look like if a person actually had unlimited power. From abusing his son to allowing a plane full of innocent people to crash and perish, Homelander skews so far down a moral abyss that it would be arduous even to find a modicum of his soul at the bottom. And yet, fans of The Boys can’t get enough of him. In fact, they’ve sometimes confounded fascination with rooting interest, confusing his character archetype as an ethically gray antihero. 

To get to the bottom of why Homelander definitely isn’t an antihero, we first have to all agree on what an antihero is. Let’s begin henceforth with a little television history lesson!

What Is a TV Antihero? 

The antihero trope is one of modern TV’s most vital character types. Antiheroes have allowed for deeper storytelling, more compelling television discussion, and the evolution of the medium into something far more literary than anyone could have imagined when the boob tube was just a way to sell vacuum cleaners and household appliances in its heyday. 

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