Of all the layered characters we have met over the course of The Boys, the two most ambiguous ones are Victoria Neuman and Black Noir, who are played by Claudia Doumit and Nathan Mitchell respectively.
While Neuman is introduced as a young, ambitious, anti-supe Senator who is as against Vought as the rest of The Boys, it later emerged that she was the mysterious head-exploder who caused havoc throughout season 2: making her a supe herself. As for Black Noir, although he is a member of The Seven and is more than happy to engage in fights with Butcher and the others if needed, not a lot is known about the person underneath the mask, least of all where his loyalty truly lies. But with both characters having a larger role in the upcoming season, that may change.
As part of a roundtable with The Digital Fix and other members of the UK press, Doumit and Mitchell answered a number of burning questions people had about The Boys season 3. What follows is the transcription of this roundtable, which includes questions asked by representatives of various other outlets.
Can you talk a little bit about what we can expect from your characters this season?
Claudia Doumit: Okay, so at the beginning of season three, you find Neuman and Hughie working together, which is where we left off in season two, it’s a year later, and it starts off pretty good. She’s a great boss, but as is the theme of The Boys, everything kind of goes off the rails.
Also this season, you kind of get a glimpse into Neuman’s personal life, and how that part of her world operates. And I’m really excited about that. And on top of that, she’s got to make some tough decisions, which she really doesn’t want to make.
Nathan Mitchell: So Noir has recovered from his close brush with death. And he’s in the field, is doing his typical thing, killing a few people here, knifing up a few people, and is drawing pictures of wholesome cartoon characters.
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This season is really interesting for Black Noir because there are elements of his past that we explore. There is a new side to him that you’ve never seen, we get to see inside his mind, like how he thinks, which is very different from the typical person. And I think he has some demons and some fears he thought he escaped but turns out he hasn’t. So he has to wrestle with those and, and make some tough decisions.
So, Black Noir is obviously quite different to how he is in the comics. I was wondering if you could go through what those kinds of changes are and why they were made?
NM: Initially, I thought that was the direction we were going in, so I reached out to Kripke very early. And he was like, ‘Yeah, we’re not doing that.’ It was pretty set from the beginning. And I think personally, in our show, Homelander is so smart. There’s no way that he would have been an unknown factor in his presence without knowing what was up with him.
So, the fact that there would be a Homelander clone, his suit, and his whole arm would have to be made of zinc, so that Homelander couldn’t see through, but on that, Homelander wouldn’t allow somebody he didn’t understand completely to be in a space, so he would take off the mask so you’d be able to figure that out.
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So, I think from that standpoint, given how intelligent and ruthless and conniving Homelander is, there’s no way that that could last. If there was a clone, just like waiting to take him out right beside him he’d figure that out, like he’s figured out so many things so far.
CD: I think with a lot of characters, they do that, and it’s because they want it to be an accurate reflection of like, of the story that they want to tell, the people they want to follow, and of the time that we’re in, so it’s a really timely show. Given my character Neuman, is this quite dim-witted guy in the comics they changed to a woman, they’ve done that with quite a few characters.
What is Neuman’s endgame?
CD: I think this season especially, she’s first and foremost a mother. You don’t really see that side in season two, but I think a lot of the actions that she takes and a lot of the decisions that she makes are based on that.
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One big theme in season three is based around the concept of power, obtaining this power, keeping it once you’ve got it, that kind of thing. From Neuman’s to Black Noir’s perspective, how do your characters grapple with having that power? How does having that power impact their personal and professional relationships?
CD: With Neuman in such a transitory state this season, she’s making some decisions and reassessing where her cards lie. So her allegiances kind of switch up a bit. There’s definitely a struggle that’s happening for her concerning power. So I think she’s a little bit internally, struggling with that concept of the power, where it lies and finding where she fits into that picture.
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NM: Yeah, and for Noir, I think he’s around powerful people who he has to deal with, and as much as he wants to push for what he wants, he comes up against blocks. So, he can only do so much, so although he’s a supe, there’s a way in which his ambition is limited. As we go later into the season, I think we can see, what he chooses to do in order to take a stand for what he wants for himself.
And for Noir, it’s less about power and more about grappling with his desire versus the desires of other people, the fallout of that, and making tough choices. He has some, like, ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ moments where he has to go internal and figure out what he’s going to do, who he’s going to decide to be, and what he’s going to take a stand for.
How do you feel about some of the more gory and shocking elements of the script? Do you have any highlights about that?
CD: I’m kind of used to seeing the words ‘blood’ and ‘explode’ on a page! That doesn’t really faze me. But, every season, I am shocked at the new, the fresh chaos that these characters seem to endure. So it is shocking every time.
NM: what’s most exciting for me. It’s just like, it’s such a well-told story, that just reading from page to page to page, and it’s just exciting. And then something crazy happens. You’re like, ‘Whoa, we’re doing that,’ and so it’s just like an added bonus on top. So yeah, we’re pretty used to it. It’s baked into our reading material. But it’s always fun, especially when it’s in such a great story.
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CD: Yeah, because you’re so intrigued by what’s going to happen with these characters next because I think they feel their stories and that life so well. It’s so rich, in that regard.
With Black Noir, where do his loyalties lie?
NM: That’s a great question, and one we’re going to explore this season. As we’ve seen, Noir has a very sensitive soul, and as ruthless, cutthroat, and dangerous as he is, everybody wants to be loved. So, I think as he grapples with that question, I think one of the things that leads his direction this season is the question of, ‘Who loves Noir, who actually has his back,’ and I think that might help him, make a decision.
Obviously, you’re very busy promoting this season. Have you heard or been given any idea of when filming might start on season four, providing your characters are in a position to come back for the next season?
CD: We’re very hopeful that we get a fourth season, but I think that all depends on how this season is perceived. So fingers crossed, because it’s a great show.
The first three episodes of season 3 of The Boys drops on Amazon Prime Video on June 3.