Homelander’s origins explained – what do we learn in The Boys Season 4?

Jakob Barnes
Homelander, Marty, and Barbara from The Boys

There’s nothing more interesting and satisfying than watching Homelander go crazy in The Boys. But, where does all this anger and pain come from? Homelander’s origins make for a fascinating read.

With every new season of The Boys, and indeed, every new episode of The Boys Season 4, Homelander goes a little bit more insane.

Honestly, it’s what makes The Boys one of the best superhero TV shows ever made. But why is he the way he is?

Here, we dig into Homelander’s origins, the people who made him, and the motivations for his sadistic behavior. Buckle up, it’s a rough ride, and there’s spoilers ahead.

Where did Homelander come from?

Still from The Boys Season 4 Episode 4

Put simply, Homelander is a genetically-modified super being who was created and raised in a lab by Vought. Homelander’s origins differ slightly depending on whether you’re reading the comics or watching the show, though.

In the comics, Homelander is created thanks to genetic material taken from Stormfront, the Supe with a penchant for Nazism. Vought then used a surrogate mother to carry the embryo, which was fertilized with the sperm of Soldier Boy.

Though Soldier Boy is canonically Homelander’s father in the TV show, there is no mention of Stormfront’s involvement. Either way, the megalomaniacal Supe is a test-tube baby, raised under horrific conditions by Vought.

He was originally called John, before taking on the mantle of Homelander. He really doesn’t like being called John anymore, as it reminds him of his painful past.

Is Homelander human?

Antony Starr as Homelander in The Boys

Yes, Homelander is a human, albeit a genetically-engineered, superpowered human.

In the comics, Vought initially claim Homelander is an alien who crash-landed on Earth, like Superman, but this is revealed to be a lie when the truth about Solider Boy’s paternity emerges.

Essentially, Homelander is a human-Supe hybrid, like many of the characters in the show. He just happens to be the most powerful of them all.

Unlike other Supes, Homelander wasn’t injected with Compound V as a child. Instead, he was born a Supe, thanks to the genetics of his father.

What did Marty and Barbara do?

Still from The Boys Season 4 Episode 4

Marty was one of the assistants working under Jonah Vogelbaum at the Vought labs, while Barbara was Homelander’s primary carer in the facility.

In The Boys Season 4 Episode 4, we learn a lot more about Homelander’s origins. He arrives at the Vought labs and begins to reveal the cruel things the doctors did to him. When it comes to Marty, we initially get the impression he was one of the kinder doctors, but there’s a twist.

Homelander recalls how Marty once caught him masturbating in his cell. Marty then mocked the young boy and gave him the cruel nickname ‘Squirt.’

As for Barbara, it seems she may be one of the few people at the facility Homelander genuinely cared for and had any respect for. Barbara was something of a mother figure to the young John, and that’s likely why he (sort of) spares her life when he enacts his big revenge.

What is the Bad Room?

Still from The Boys Season 4 Episode 4

The Bad Room is the name Homelander gives to his cell at the Vought lab. It was essentially his bedroom, but it wasn’t exactly a nice environment to be in.

As a boy, he was locked in the room, with cameras watching his every move. The only time people visited him was to carry out cruel experiments on him.

However, in Episode 4, when Homelander references the Bad Room, he doesn’t actually explain exactly why he called it that.

Most likely, this room wasn’t actually the Bad Room before. But, when Homelander carries out his brutal revenge, it definitely becomes the Bad Room.

Homelander’s revenge

Homelander in The Boys Season 4

Homelander returns to the lab in Season 4 Episode 4 and kills everyone before locking Barbara in his cell with the corpses of her colleagues.

It’s one of The Boys’ most shocking moments and one of actor Anthony Starr’s crowning moments as the homicidal antihero.

The doctors enter panic mode as security cameras blackout, and someone heads their way into the elevator. They’re even more terrified when Homelander steps out carrying a celebration cake and a sinister smile on his face.

First up for retribution is Frank, the man who forced Homelander into the oven at the facility. Homelander returns the favor, telling Frank to step inside while he takes a shot at the wastepaper basket with a ball of paper. As you’d expect, it’s not long before Homelander literally turns up the heat.

Next, though it initially seems Marty might get off the hook, it’s revealed he branded Homelander with the nickname ‘Squirt’ as a kid. He gets a taste of his own medicine when Homelander forces him to masturbate in front of the other lab assistants.

When Marty can’t finish, Homelander blasts his privates with his laser vision and lets him bleed out on the floor, laughing all the while.

That’s when Barbara arrives to try and calm Homelander down. The pair have a long chat, reflecting on Homelander’s origins and the way he was treated.

It seems Barbara might be able to get through to Homelander. But, when she asks about the Bad Room, he decides showing would be more effective than telling.

We then cut to a shot of the walls painted with the blood and guts of all the other lab assistants. In an even more sinister twist, fans noticed Homelander melted the seal around the cell, so Barbara will never be able to leave. And, given it’s a secret facility, she may never be found.

Homelander’s obsession with milk

We all know Homelander loves the white stuff, and it’s likely down to his detachment issues having never had a genuine mother growing up.

Homelander in The Boys Season 2

Because of this, Homelander’s obsession with breast milk manifests itself as an odd confusion between maternal and sexual cravings as part of an Oedipal Complex.

He may be the most powerful man on Earth, but Homelander is severely emotionally stunted. He is essentially stuck in an infantile state in many ways, with breast milk being one of the key indicators.

For more from the show, dive into all The Boys theories. You can also find out whether Homelander can die, how Black Noir returned, and what Sister Sage did to her brain.

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