We may be inching closer to spring, but a storm looms on the horizon. Entertainment Weekly has unveiled the first look at Aya Cash as Stormfront in Amazon’s The Boys season two. The character is a Neo-Nazi super soldier who’s been gender-swapped for the television adaptation… and updated to more accurately reflect white nationalism in the 21st century.
“You start off this season thinking she’s one thing and then discover she’s another,” Cash (You’re the Worst) told EW. “There are quite a few times where you’ll identify with her as an audience member or agree with what she says. I think [those] are the most dangerous people.”
As revealed by Entertainment Weekly, Stormfront is arriving in season two to sow discord among the Seven; her debut also teases the possible addition of the Payback team, which was designed to satirize the Avengers’ pre-MCU status as the comic industry’s “B-team.” According to showrunner Eric Kripke, Stormfront is a major problem for the Seven because she threatens the reign of its chaotic leader Homelander (Antony Starr). She represents everything Homelander isn’t: She’s young and new, and she knows how to use social media to further her goals and darker agenda.
“She’s really social media savvy, where Homelander doesn’t really have anything to do with that. Someone else is always running his accounts. He’s almost like a Don Draper-era character and she’s very young and new and fresh, and that’s a massive challenge for him,” he said.
That’s just one of the ways this version of Stormfront is different than her comics counterpart. In the original The Boys graphic novel, Stormfront was a male super soldier created by the Nazis and then smuggled into the United States.
To keep his true origins a secret, he was given the backstory of being a reincarnated Viking warrior, evoking characters like Thor and Shazam. But his fabricated history doesn’t stop him from being a white supremacist in his everyday life. He’s openly racist and sexist, going so far as to spout Nazi propaganda during his missions.
Kripke said Stormfront’s origins have been changed to better reflect white nationalism in the 21st century. Instead of being a literal Nazi who was created in the 1940s, she’s a product of the alt-right’s ability to use the internet to recruit, control, and manipulate.
The truth about her thoughts, feelings, opinions, and background will be revealed as we get to know the character better—showing how white nationalism can lurk under the surface. In a previous interview with Coming Soon, Kripke explained the decisions behind this character evolution:
Where the idea emerged, and without spoiling too much, what I’ll say is under the writer room mantra of ‘Bad for the world, good for the show.’ We’re all news junkies, and we tend to pay attention to things that are happening out there in the world, and how do we use our super heroes as a metaphor for that? And I am horrified and sad to report that there is a rise of white nationalism. And it’s taking a very different form than it took in the 40s.
It takes a very social media savvy trying to attract young men and women form. And so, we got really interested in creating a character that could represent that for us. And so, as I would say, it’s not the version in the book, but I would say they have the same rotten soul.
And, while it might seem strange that a female character whom Cash called “a feminist” is being used to display modern alt-right views—given how that community is largely male and believes in submissive roles for women—Kripke said it’s an intentional choice.
After all, the Heartland Institute tried to push that climate denialist teenager (who not-so-coincidentally turned out to support a white nationalist) as an anti-Greta Thunberg. Using women and people of colour as props to promote bigoted agendas is nothing new.
The Boys returns with season two sometime this winter.