SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “The Instant White-Hot Wild,” the Season 3 final episode of “The Boys.”
Jensen Ackles knows a thing or two about playing men who have less-than-healthy relationships with their fathers following his 15 seasons starring as Dean Winchester on The CW’s “Supernatural” and his role as toxic-masculine superhero Soldier Boy on the now-concluded third season of Amazon’s “The Boys.”
But which of the two Ackles characters – one who did everything his demon-hunting father John Winchester (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) asked of him and his brother, Sam (Jared Padalecki), and the other who went so far as to have a corrupt company inject him with a chemical that gave him super powers in an attempt to win his father’s approval – had the bigger “daddy issues” complex?
“Oh, definitely Soldier Boy. He definitely had the worst father and has more deep-rooted issues because of it, ”Ackles told Variety. “With Dean, I do not think Dean was ever looking, necessarily, for his father’s approval in the way Soldier Boy was. He just idolized his father in a way that was unique, given their circumstances, given the fact that they lived in a world that was much, much different than a relationship would be. Also dealing with the fact that his dad was motivated by revenge and he was John Winchester’s mini-me, essentially. He was his little soldier. I think it was less about his approval, and more, ‘This is what I’m supposed to do because it’s what my father taught me to do.’ ”
Ackles added that whereas Soldier Boy just wanted his father’s approval – which he never got even after becoming the original superhero, and in turn rejected his own son Homelander (Antony Starr) and grandson Ryan (Cameron Crovetti) for not living up to his standards – “Dean idolized his dad and definitely had him on a pedestal.” And Ackles has been thinking about Dean’s dad a lot recently, given that he is executive producing The CW’s upcoming “Supernatural” prequel series “The Winchesters.”
“Now, certainly, you could pick at that pedestal all day long,” Ackles said. “But I think John Winchester did truly love his sons and what he did, you could certainly argue that it was the wrong way of going about it, but it was all rooted in love. He felt the way he did, and set off on the journey that he set off on because of the love of his wife and his family. It’s the classic situation of doing the right thing the wrong way. And I think John was probably much more guilty of that than Soldier Boy’s father, who was just doing the wrong thing the wrong way. He was just wrong across the board. Nothing will ever be good enough, nothing will ever impress his father. ”
Both Dean Winchester and this version of Soldier Boy (an adaptation of the character from Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s “The Boys” comic books) sprang from the mind of “Supernatural” and Amazon’s “The Boys” creator Eric Kripke. In joining “The Boys” for Season 3 following his many years starring on “Supernatural,” Ackles reunited with his long-time co-star Jim Beaver (who played Dean and Sam’s surrogate father, Bobby Singer, on the CW drama, and plays presidential candidate Robert Singer on the superhero show), albeit not on screen.
“There was a scene where Homelander is giving a speech at a Robert Singer rally and he envisions Soldier Boy walking in the crowd,” Ackles said. “That was the only time I was even on set when Jim was on set. And that in itself was really bizarre to be sitting next to somebody who I’ve been working with for years and years and with whom I have, not just a wonderful working relationship, but personal relationship, as well, and sitting on a completely different set playing completely different characters. ”
As far as the actual “Supernatural” Easter eggs that Kripke managed to get into “The Boys” Season 3, Ackles is partial to the nod to Dean Winchester’s horrible eating habits. “It was funny, the first scene that we really get to hear Soldier Boy, he’s eating fast food. Of course he is, ”Ackles laughed.