According to showrunner Eric Kripke, the writing team behind Amazon’s live-action The Boys series chose to deviate from the original comics and have Queen Maeve survive her moment of self-sacrifice because they wanted to avoid “the tropes of gay characters and bisexual characters in shows getting killed”.
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Occurring in the third season finale ‘The Instant White-Hot Wild’, the moment in question finds The Boys, Homelander, and Queen Maeve, staring down Soldier Boy, who has begun to charge up his radiation powers in service of an area-wiping suicide attack.
But before he can unleash the blast, Queen Maeve tackles the Vought super-soldier out a nearby window, sacrificing her own life – and her goal of taking down Homelander – in order to save the others from being vaporized.
However, despite the widespread and publicly promoted belief that the series’ Wonder Woman analogue had died in service of stopping Soldier Boy, a still-clinging-to-life Queen Maeve is found by Annie recovering under the care of her girlfriend, Elena.
Asked by her former The Seven teammate where the future will take them, Queen Maeve simply replies, “I don’t know, somewhere where Homelander won’t find me.”
In a brief epilogue, current Vought Senior VP of Hero Management Ashley Barrett and her assistant Anika are seen recovering security footage which reveals that, rather than passing away, Queen Maeve was simply de-powered and spirited away to safety by The Boys.
Offering an uncharacteristic olive branch, the two ultimately agree to delete the recording, deciding to Queen Maeve live on in secret rather than subject her to more danger.
Notably, Queen Maeve’s sacrifice plays out quite a bit differently in Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s original Dynamite Comics series.
Therein, The Seven’s resident female powerhouse comes to blows with Homelander after he catches both her and Starlight attempting to voluntarily leave the team.
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Hoping to buy Starlight time to escape, Queen Maeve throws her out a nearby hangar before rushing to swing her sword at her former team leader.
Unfortunately for her, the blade fails to do any real damage, as according to Homelander it was nothing more than “a metal prop”.
Completely unphased, Homelander then proceeds to decapitate Queen Maeve with a single blow, sending her head rocketing towards the ground outside of Seven Tower.
Per Kripke during a recent interview with Variety, this change in the series’ narrative was made in order to keep The Boys from falling into the so-called ‘Bury Your Gays’ trope – an alleged habit across media where gay characters are seen as more expendable than straight ones.
Asked by the outlet’s TV Business Writer Jennifer Maas if he could provide any insight as to whether “actor Dominique McElligottis actrually leaving the show” and “what was behind the choice” to leave Queen Maeve alive, the showrunner explained, “I don’t think The Boys will end without Maeve showing up again…We needed a way to sort of gracefully get Maeve out of the show, let her head for the exit.”
“Obviously, we didn’t want to kill her and fall into the tropes of gay characters and bisexual characters in shows getting killed,” he continued. “We wanted to do the opposite of that and send her off and give her a happy ending with Elena. The best way to do that was, well, take away her powers and she’s not useful in the fight anymore.”
“And we did that because Annie can’t really grow into her own until all the characters that are around to protect her are gone,” concluded Kripke. “It was important for her next step for her mentor characters and her protector characters to go away. And so it’s only up to Annie. There’s no one left but Annie. So what is she going to do?”
The Boys season four is currently in production, with filming having reportedly wrapped on April 12th.
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