The fact that Queen Maeve survived the events of The Boys season 3 finale means that Soldier Boy is a lot weaker than viewers might have assumed. When Jensen Ackles joined the cast of The Boys season 3 as Soldier Boy, even viewers of the satirical superhero series who were familiar with the source comics did not know what to expect. In the comics, Soldier Boy is the name given to two characters, both a deceased supe who fought in WWII, and a Homelander sycophant whose cowardice and naïveté ensure that he doesn’t last long in the brutal world of The Boys.
However, The Boys season 3 turned the television adaptation’s version of Soldier Boy into an entirely different sort of character. The Boys had to update Soldier Boy due to the MCU’s transformation of Captain America, and the adaptation did not disappoint, with Ackles portraying the character as a violent xenophobic mass murderer who used patriotism and superpowers to mask his murderous urges. If that sounds familiar, it is likely because the character had a lot in common with Homelander, and even the revelation that he was Homelander’s father did not stop Soldier Boy from attempting to kill his main competition.
Queen Maeve’s Survival Hints Soldier Boy Got Weaker
The combined efforts of Butcher, Homelander, Mother’s Milk, Queen Maeve, Kimiko, and Starlight eventually took down Soldier Boy in The Boys season 3 finale, although this came at a great cost. Soldier Boy’s final nuclear blast killed himself and Queen Maeve – or, at least, it seemed to until the closing moments of the episode. In the end, it turned out both Mother’s Milk’s enemy Soldier Boy and Queen Maeve secretly survived the blast, which seemingly proves that Soldier Boy was severely weakened by the events of The Boys season 3. After all, earlier nuclear blasts from Soldier Boy wiped out dozens of supes (as seen during Herogasm).
The fact that Soldier Boy was able to kill a slew of supes simultaneously with a blast only episodes earlier makes Queen Maeve’s fate surprising, although there could be an in-universe answer that explains how Queen Maeve survived that blast. This potential answer hinges on Soldier Boy’s powers being gradually depleted, as it is possible that each time the villain used his nuclear strength, his powers were weakened. It would make sense if Soldier Boy’s power reserves were depleted by each use, since he spent decades on ice before the events of The Boys season 3. Furthermore, Soldier Boy also needed to build up the blasts aimed at Kimiko and Crimson Countess.
What Soldier Boy’s Weakness Means For The Boys Season 4
While Soldier Boy’s need to replenish his nuclear powers makes sense and is foreshadowed earlier in The Boys season 3, this doesn’t change the fact that his apparent weakness will impact the story of season 4. If The Boys hero Mother’s Milk finally caves and tries Compound V, the vigilante might have a chance to beat his childhood enemy Soldier Boy thanks to both the temporary superpowers provided by V and Soldier Boy’s reduced strength. This would mean that Homelander and Victoria Neuman will likely take over as The Boys season 4’s main antagonists, as the pair now seem more dangerous than the comparatively unstable Soldier Boy.
The Boys Season 3’s Maeve Twist Could Have Another Meaning
While it would make sense for Soldier Boy’s powers to start fading in The Boys season 4, there is another valid explanation for Queen Maeve’s survival in the finale. It could be that Maeve is getting stronger rather than Soldier Boy getting weaker, which would be great for Butcher and the Boys – but not necessarily good news for the Seven, or Maeve herself. Butcher’s surprising (and volatile) relationship with Queen Maeve, along with the public’s belief that she is dead, could allow her to work with the eponymous vigilantes in The Boys season 4. However, since Queen Maeve’s season 4 return would undo her perfect ending, this might not be ideal.
Queen Maeve handed Starlight her role at the end of The Boys season 3 after a heroic self-sacrifice. She proved that she was less cynical than many of the supes around her by taking down Soldier Boy instead of letting him kill Homelander (and everyone else), and she proved to herself that her superpowers didn’t necessarily condemn her to a life of isolation, corruption, lies, and misery. As such, dragging her back into the messy battles of The Boys season 4 could undo a lot of growth for Queen Maeve, particularly when there is no need to prove that her powers have grown now that the show set up another route to Soldier Boy’s perfect defeat.
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