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The Boys Presents: Diabolical At WonderCon 2022



It’s kinda nice to talk about stuff, because for so long its been NDAs and secrets, so yeah it’s good to finally talk

Im Giancarlo volpe, supervising director of the boys diabolical

Q – not having talked about things for a while, I think that plays into how we got this animated series, can you talk a bit about how you ended up going with the animated series as opposed to the live-action, as a spinoff

A – oh, so It was very much because of the pandemic, the boys season 3 schedule was delayed shooting schedule because of the world being shut down, Eric Kripke and Seth, and Evan all collectively wanted to give the fans something to chew on while they’re waiting for season 3.

Me – and we are SO grateful

A – I’m glad to hear that! So god bless animation, this art form that I chose, it didn’t really slow us down these last couple of years, we were available and ready to go, so we made some cartoons! I saw a couple of people online saying, they made this instead of season 3?! And its like, obviously not! That implies that they like somehow trained the crew of the boys to like animate instead of  like film! So that was happening in tandem, in fact, there were times when we couldn’t get Eric on the phone cuz he was busy on the set, you know, we’ve been doing both!

A – there were a couple of notes we got, saying like don’t explore that, we’re going to be exploring that in season 3 (live-action) so we don’t want to like repeat ourselves, or contradict ourselves, so there’s a little bit of overlap but I don’t fully know what happens in season 3, I mean I have a couple of ideas, like contextually from like the directives we got, so I’ll probably be surprised too! There’ll probably be a couple of moments where Im like, oh, that’s why they made me cut that line, you know, so that’ll be fun!

Q – each of the different episodes had a different animation style, how did that come about?

A – I want to say, you know, that some of that pre-dates me being hired, but as I understand it, Seth and Evan and Eric were like, lets make this like Animatrix, lets make this like I don’t know if you remember Spike and Mike’s twisted animation festival –

Q – (most of us) we do!

A – so something like that, but in The Boys universe! So lets make it feel like it was eight different filmmakers, with their unique voice and style, and so the writers kind of all came up with their own ideas, and had a short description, yeah this one should kind of feel like anime, and that one should feel like this and that, and then later as we hired directors, they helped visualize what that would like and how to pull that off under a very compressed schedule.

Q – at this point are people running to work with The Boys? We’ve got people like Kumail Nanjiani and Awkwafina writing and voicing in here, was the show reaching out to certain people and if so, how did they choose their collaborators?

A – there’s clearly some kind of network to draw from, for sure. Friends of Seth, I’m sure that was a factor, like a list in his cell phone or something, we were also given a list of celebrities that are fans of the boys, like a friendly reminder like hey, Method Man is a huge fan of the show – we didn’t get Method Man but like that, you know?

Q (me) –  So there’s 8 episodes and you obviously can’t say which ones your favorite, but which one was the most work?

A – ooh the most work, man that’s a good question. The Awkwafina episode for example ran long, she gave us so many wild lines in the record that it was hard to pick which take to use, so we were like trying to use ALL of them and the episode was like 18 minutes long or something, we had to cut it down to make it produce-able, so that was challenging. I think also there was a little extra attention on “1 plus 1” because it was so faithful, Eric has since then dubbed it canonical to the series, that went through several rounds of making sure it all worked correctly. I remember that one was like the last one we shipped and we were all tired and like ughhh gotta get this one done!

Q – Well that’s the episode that you wrote and that Simon co-directed, on top of it feels very canonical to the show, is there a reason Eric allowed it to be covered here (in The Boys Diabolical) as opposed to the live-action show?

A – I think it was originally conceived as a kind of what-if? Scenario, maybe this could be Homelanders origin, to Simons credit I think he did such a great job that Eric was like, Im convinced this happened, it all fits, it all works, this is canonical. I thought that was really cool.

Q – Lets take a moment to talk about the (cancer) episode, it was so poignant and powerful and you don’t expect to see something like that in The Boys universe, what inspired that, it was really beautiful and sad.

A – I would imagine that Andy, he chose that subject matter so there must have been, I can only assume, we didn’t pry that he’s got a personal story (with cancer), I think a lot of us do. And just wanted it to be an interesting hook – can you use Compound V to cure cancer? At its core it’s not a cynical take on The Boys universe, and I say this with affinity, The Boys is kind of a cynical take on corporations and power and greed and all that, this is like a flip on that, what if you could use power to actually help people! And it’s a really beautiful episode and I’m so happy with that, especially the way Steve Vaughn directed it, I’m really proud of that one.

Q – is this something you can see people doing in future seasons, like trying to bring less of the cynical and more of the personal explorative stuff?

A – Do you mean in entertainment in general or specifically on The Boys?

Q – Specifically on The Boys.

A – Good question. I mean, I’d like to think that resonates with everyone, like oh yeah we could also do that and it could make (the show) that much richer, if you had moments of like, “I could actually help someone with my powers”, you know, a little more contrast with Homelander’s assholery.

(Everyone laughs)


I’m Simon Racioppa, one of the executive producers and the showrunner of the boys diabolical.

Q – I’m gonna start you with an easy one – in every panel we’ve had little kids come up to the microphone and ask, is this appropriate, can I watch this? So what is your target audience, would you say?

A – I don’t have kids so I’m probably the wrong person to ask this question! LOL Everyone should see it! No, it’s mature in both language and content, I think parents should make their own decision about that, and I would definitely say it is not a kid’s cartoon.

Q – Can you talk a little bit about getting Simon Pegg to come onboard? He voices Hughie finally on the show, so …

A – So when we’re putting the episode together, Garth Innis wrote that episode, and the goal was always to make it Garth’s version of The Boys, so Eric Kripke developed the series for live-action for the Boys and that’s his version, we wanted to do Garth’s version, which is where it came from. So if you’ve read the original comic books, you know the character Hughie looks like Simon Pegg, he was based on Simon Pegg, Derek Robertson who does the art has come out and had conversations with Simon Pegg, and Simon is aware it’s based on him. So Simon is of course a friend of the show, he appears on the show (plays Hughie’s father), it was just a no-brainer. So much so, that we were saying if Simon can’t do this for schedule reasons, we’d just take the character out of the episode. We weren’t gonna have anyone else play the Hughie in our show. Luckily when we talked to him, he was like, absolutely I will do that, and then it was just scheduling. He was outside of London at his home, we sent a studio record session,  and there was a remote group that went up there and installed it for him, this was still a deep pandemic, so they come into your room and they set up a microphone and blankets and stuff and then they leave and you wait for 15 minutes and then Simon Pegg can come in and record safely. And he (Pegg) was so happy and so great to work with, cuz he was like, I thought I would never get a chance to play this character because I’m too old now, and he’s like, this is my chance to do it. He was amazing.

Q – Did any of the other voice cast members say I gotta come on and do this person or that person?

A – Jason Isaacs, who played Billy Butcher in Garth’s version, as well, was really excited about playing that, if you’re familiar with the books – Karl (Urban) was not available, there were scheduling issues, we have a very tight schedule on the show, so we couldn’t afford to wait very long if someone wasn’t available. So we had Jason Isaacs come in, and I think someone had brought him the comics and was telling him, you need to play Butcher, this is like you on a page. So when we came to him, he was like absolutely, I will do this again. And he was great, he was like, I’ve got this no problem, cuz we were all like well the characters got all this -, and he was like, I know. And then he would just DO it and we’d all be like, yes, exactly, the perfect south London cockney accent, because that’s where he grew up.

Q – Did any other actors reach out to you to participate on the show?

A – Uhhh, well we had some actors we knew were fans of The Boys, so the mothership show, we call the main show The Boys the mothership show, had people talking to them who wanted to be on the show, so like Kumail Nanjiani we knew was a huge fan of the show and had been asking about getting involved in it in some way, so we reached out to him and his wife and were like yeah, we’d love to be involved! So usually we went out to, we have a great casting director Linda Lamontagne, who was excellent at like approaching actors and giving us a list of people she knew was interested in being on the show or would be right for the roles, so yeah it was just a matter of working with her.

Q – You guys are essentially starting to build an MCU-like universe –

A – The VCU, the Vought-CU!

Q – The Vought Cinematic Universe, yes, what other kind of like styles, when we were talking to Giancarlo, he was talking about like he saw it a bit like the Animatrix, what kind of other stories would you want to tell in this sort of format? You have such a broad variety to work with!

A – Yeah well, I kinda see The Boys Diabolical, I mean if we’re lucky enough to get a second season, as a kind of grab bag of different aspects that you wouldn’t see in the mothership show. So we don’t want to either repeat anything from the mothership show, and we don’t want to repeat anything we’ve done in season 1, it has to be new, new material. I think it would be great to do some international stuff! Obviously The Boys is set in New York, but Vought has its tentacles around the world so, there’s stuff happening in Asia, there’s stuff happening in Australia, there’s stuff happening in Russia. It would be great to do like a Vought “what’s happening in the rest of the world” during the mothership show, when we’re just seeing what’s happening with Homelander and the crew of the Seven in New York.

Q – So you’re asking what if? Basically

A – Yeah!  We would call it, cuz I think “what if” is trademarked, we would call it, “what else?” LOL

(Everyone cheers)

Q (me) – So you have a whole series of episodes, each one a different tone and style and everything, you obviously can’t say which one is a favorite because you’re not actually supposed to –

A – Thank you for recognizing that, everyone always asks me which one’s your favorite and I’m like, I love them all!

Q (me) – Right! So, which episode would you say you had the most FUN doing?

A – Oh my gosh that’s a great question – okay so, I wrote the last one and obviously there’s a lot of fun in writing an episode too. But I would say the most fun one was actually Awkwafina’s episode, which I know was very divisive episode, some people love it some people absolutely hate it, but like putting together the soundtrack for that, we commissioned an original Japanese pop song for that episode, so that was really fun.

Q (me) – That’s super cool! Who was the artist?

A – So we had two composers, Leo Birenberg and Zach Robinson, the composers from Cobra Kai, they were unbelievable, they were like we know exactly what kind of tone you want, we know what you need for this episode, so they came on board and pitched us some music and we were like, yes! And then the director for that episode, Madeleine Flores, also was a big fan of like Japanese pop music. So she introduced us to a couple of things, she was like it would be great if we could get this band Necry Talkie who is an actual Japanese pop band, and we licensed their music and they’re in the show. So that one was really fun putting together because I learned a lot about other artists that were not in my normal sort of purview.

Q – You said you wanted to do a second season, do you have some ideas already for those, were there some (ideas) lingering leftover from this season?

A – So funny enough, there weren’t a lot of ideas lingering, because what we did was, when we knew we were going to be doing 8 of them, we started going out to the 8 writers, like Andy Samberg and the Glazers and people like that and we just started filling up the slots one by one. We stopped when we had 8, so there weren’t like lost episodes or things we started but didn’t finish, each one was assigned once per the 8. I don’t want to repeat ourselves, that’s the biggest thing. I want it to be brand new, no repetition, and stuff you haven’t seen anywhere else.

Here’s to starting a petition for The Boys International!

(cheers all around)

(The end)

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Dune Part Two: The Lisan Al Gaib comes for you!



Welcome back to our struggle for control of the known universe already in progress, the continuation of the journey of Paul Atreides from exile to Emperor, Dune Part Two

So when we last left our intrepid if dubious heroes, House Atreides had been betrayed and virtually destroyed, by a combination of House Harkonnens surprise attacks and the added treachery of Emperor Shaddam and his Sardaukar. Paul Atreides (Timothee Chalamet), the last surviving heir (so far) of House Atreides and his mother Jessica, have taken refuge on the desert planet of Arrakis amongst the indigenous Fremen, and as far as most are aware, the other remnants of House Atreides are dead as well. And here is where we catch up with everyone, as the struggle for Atreides emergence and dominance begins in earnest! 

The Emperor’s daughter Princess Irulan (Florence Pugh) is known for her many skills, but her copious note-taking and writings on the large events shaping her world come to the forefront as she takes counsel with her father amidst games of chance on their homeworld. Her life is one of luxury and privilege but alas, Irulan is a trained Bene Gesserit and is well aware that in all likelihood, she will be used as a pawn in the marriage games empires have to go through. Bet she never imagined it could be to a House everyone swore had been utterly destroyed. 

Meanwhile, on Arrakis, Paul is trying to integrate himself into the Fremen way of life, which is admittedly far different from the life he led back on the Atreides homeworld of Caladan. (If nothing else, Caladan has vast oceans.) The Fremen are fiercely independent, gloriously strong fighters, survivors who dare to ride and revere the giant sandworms that inhabit their planet that they call Shai-Hulud, and rightfully distrustful of outsiders. After all, the previous stewardship of Arrakis belonged to House Harkonnen, known for their cruelty and glee at hunting Fremen and torturing their victims, sometimes for weeks at a time. But Paul won his and Jessicas way into the Fremen by fair combat against Jamis, and if nothing else, the Fremen are firm in their beliefs of the old ways. 

Or rather, the elder Fremen are, most particularly the famed Fedaykin fighter and Naib (leader) of Sietch Tabr Stilgar (Javier Bardem) is adamant in his unshakable belief that Paul is the foretold Lisan Al Gaib, the Voice from the Outer World, that will lead the Fremen to peace and paradise. Stilgar’s steadfast belief in Paul’s potential only grows, and he manages with just that to convince a great many of the other Fremen elders. The younger generation of Fremen however, of which Paul’s beloved Chani (Zendaya) is a part, generally scoff at the legends of otherworldly prophets and Arrakis as a fabled green, wet heaven. In the beginning, Paul himself swears he doesn’t want to be the Messiah, only a Fremen fighter amongst the rest of them, hundreds of years of the Missionaria Protectiva, the Bene Gesserit practice of spreading useful religious propaganda as seeds on various planets, is working double-time against him. It doesn’t help that Paul’s mother Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) is expounding on that myth as much as she possibly can. 

And why would she do that? Survival yes, but also, Jessica is a thoroughly trained Bene Gesserit and knows of plans within plans within plans. Jessica also has many secrets of her own, and one very important one happens to be that she’s pregnant with Paul’s sister. The Bene Gesserit bodily control may be something out of legend, but even Jessica, possibly Reverend Mother Mohiam’s best and most fractious student, will have trouble with the trial the Fremen are insisting she go through to become truly one of them. The Reverend Mother equivalent of Sietch Tabr, known as their Sayyadina, is old and dying, and the Fremen have to have a Reverend Mother. Jessica tells Paul this much and explains that each culture is different in their trial to become a Reverend Mother, so she honestly doesn’t know what to expect. The reality happens to be worse than she could’ve imagined – Jessica must drink the Water of Life, a deadly poison that comes from Shai-Hulud (sort of), and come out the other side of it. And Jessica manages to do it, barely, with almost all of the consequences going to the poor fetus in her womb, the girl that will grow to become Alia Atreides, an insane legend in her own right. But for now, the unnamed fetus is awake and aware and full of the memories of generations of Bene Gesserit women that came before her – before she was even born

Paul participates in razzia raids amongst the Fremen as they work to take out the spice mining operations of the Harkonnens, immerses himself in the vastly different desert culture of his chosen people, and perhaps most importantly, his romance with his beloved Chani only grows stronger. After declaring his desire to join the fierce fighter elites amongst the Fremen known as Fedaykin, Paul is told by Stilgar that he must summon and ride one of the giant sandworms, the embodiment of Shai-Hulud where the Fremen get their terrible tooth Crysknives from. And after much sendup, in a glorious scene of blinding sand and huge monstrous killer worm-riding, Paul is triumphant and riding atop the sacred creature, his Maker hooks set properly to control the great beast, waving at great distance to his fellow Fremen as Chani looks on in bemusement. 

But that’s all external, and inside Paul is beginning to become divided on what he wants to do. As Jessica pushes the Protectiva hard amongst the women and priestesses of the Fremen, she is also pushing her son to become much larger than he ever wanted to be, if nothing else a conqueror can take revenge for the destruction of House Atreides and the death of her beloved Duke Leto. Paul may have earned his place amongst the Fremen and been given new names – Usul, meaning the strength of the base of the pillar, as his private name within the Sietch; and Muad’Dib, from the small mouse survivor of the desert, well versed in desert ways, called ‘Instructor-of-Boys’ in Fremen legend, as his open-use name – but now everyone wants Paul to be something greater, and potentially more destructive, than what he currently is. It only gets worse when Paul begins to suffer prophetic dreams, and visions when he’s awake, prodding him further to his destiny as an epic conqueror of worlds. Nothing can be done for it, Paul convinces himself that he must take the Water of Life himself, to awaken the sleeping prophet inside himself, and allow him to hopefully See a path through the future. 

The problem with that plan, is that Bene Gesserit are almost exclusively all women, and only they are supposed to know how to transmute poisons internally, along with all sorts of other “witchcraft”. But Jessica has been training Paul in forbidden Bene Gesserit ways all his life, and as much as Paul might rail and even quail against it, there is no denying his incoming destiny, crushing any resistance he may have with all the force of a giant sandworm hunting a spice blow. And even when Paul has finally given in and taken the cursed substance almost mockingly called the Water of Life, it falls to another strong and prophetic in her right female in his life, his beloved Chani, to save him from himself. But even Chani can’t stop Paul’s destructive destiny as the conqueror of the known worlds, guilty of slaying millions upon millions of people in his quest for vengeance, thinly disguised as peace. 

Over on the Harkonnen homeworld of Geidi Prime, “Beast” Rabban (Dave Bautista) is disgusted and enraged at the continuing Fremen raids against the Harkonnens on Arrakis, and terrified of what his uncle the notoriously cruel Baron Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard), will do to him in response. The Baron’s nephew Feyd-Rautha (Austin Butler), heir apparent or na-Baron to House Harkonnen, demonstrates his blood-inborn savagery in a slaughter of the remnants of House Atreides gladiator-style, as his birthday celebration. Pleased with the spectacle, the Baron commands Feyd-Rautha to take control of the fight against this Fremen rebel known as Muad’dib, as Rabban is proving himself more and more useless. And any tool or toy that the Baron finds broken or unusable, is destroyed before being discarded. 

As the legend of Muad’dib grows off Arrakis and circulates among the Imperial worlds, the Emperor grinds his teeth in frustration and the Bene Gesserit, led by Reverend Mother Mohiam (Charlotte Rampling) as the Emperor’s Truthsayer, begin pushing forward their plots and machinations. Lady Margot Fenring (Lea Seydoux), a criminally underused character in this respect, demonstrates her willingness to be a pawn in Bene Gesserit machinations, but never forget, strong Bene Gesserit women have been breaking their own rules for generations. Just look at what Jessica did. 

As the raids and rebellion on Arrakis continue, both the Emperor and the Baron become more and more desperate, sending in mercenaries and smugglers in the hopes they might have more luck. And aboard one of those smuggler’s vessels happens to be an old hand at being a smuggler himself, the warrior troubadour with the scarred face given him by “Beast” Rabban himself, Gurney Halleck (Josh Brolin). Reunited with his beloved Duke’s only son, Gurney finds himself swept up in the legend of Muad’dib in the making along with everyone else, though at least from Gurney’s point of view, Paul is using the messianic angle to take revenge for House Atreides. 

Finally, in an act of what could be considered the ultimate in arrogance, Emperor Shaddam Corrino himself comes to Arrakis, along with Princess Irulan and many others of his Court, the Baron, and Feyd-Rautha in tow as well, to crush this upstart Muad’dib and his Fremen warriors. Sadly for all that the powerhouse actor Christopher Walken plays him, Emperor Shaddam Corrino is shown as a doddering old man, cowed in the face of Muad’dib’s overwhelming vitality and growing-ever-stronger legend. And there is where we will end the review, for the final confrontation between all key players in the Known Universe is full of spoilers and derivations from the original opus of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune

For those of you who stuck around long enough to get to the end, after all, Dune Part Two is almost three hours long itself, if you are fans of the original novel and the zany Lynchian masterpiece that was the first Dune film, you may be disappointed or even angered at the changes made to the story for the climactic end scenes. Director Villenuve has an eye for making grand epic scenes like Paul’s sandworm ride but can be a bit scattered when it comes to piecing the story together with all the key players needing to be involved in a way that can be understood by any layman. Dune in any form is a rich, vast universe of storytelling, and even an almost three-hour-long sequel simply can’t cover every last bit that’s in the novels. But if nothing else, the film is an overwhelming feast for the eyes and should bring a whole new legion of fans to the many worlds contained within Dune

If you want to dive further into the Dune-iverse, do yourself a favor and read the Dune prequel books written by Herbert Jr. and Kevin J. Anderson. Until then, dive into the sands of Arrakis along with Shai-Hulud and scream vengeance to the skies with Paul Muad’dib Atreides in Dune Part Two, in theaters now! 

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Thatsmye Interviews: Les Weiler on Henchin’: the Series



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The 8 Episode Series Tries To Encompass A Lot Leaving Fans In A Cliffhanger.



The 2010 “Avatar: The Last Airbender” movie by M. Night Shyamalan faced criticism for its deviations from the beloved animated series. The film struggled with pacing, casting, and a lackluster script, disappointing fans who cherished the source material. In contrast, the 2024 Netflix series has generated positive buzz for its commitment to diverse casting, adherence to the original storyline, and improved character development. The series seems poised to capture the essence of the animated show, offering a fresh and faithful adaptation that resonates with both new and existing fans.

Even though the Netflix series comes closer to the core ideals of the animated series, I feel it lacks heart. Many scenes barely scratch the surface of the relationships between the characters and the push-and-pull relationship between Aang and Zuko. I will admit the CG versions of Momo and Appa are just so gosh darn cute.

The 8 episode series tries to encompass a lot leaving fans in a cliffhanger. It’s worth a watch and I am hanging on for the next season to be announced.

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