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SXSW: No spoilers, but 'The Boys' season 3 starts with 'one of the craziest things anyone has done'

Omar L. Gallaga
Special to the American-Statesman

Big South by Southwest panels featuring more than five or six stars of a TV show or movie usually go like this: Everyone gets one or two questions tailored to them. One breakout star has the best responses. A clip is shown. Fans ask questions like, “What was it like to film (crazy fan-favorite scene)?” The showrunner or director does most of the talking.

In a Saturday panel for Amazon’s streaming series “The Boys,” Christian Slater did his best to elevate a set of stiff, PR-sounding questions on notecards into a fun, rollicking discussion about the action-packed superhero sendup. The show returns June 3 on Amazon Prime and is the subject of one half of a giant Amazon activation between the Austin Convention Center and Rainey Street.

From left: Chace Crawford, Eric Kripke, Jessie T. Usher, Christian Slater, Karl Urban, Jensen Ackles, Karen Fukuhara and Laz Alonso attend a SXSW panel for Amazon Prime show "The Boys" on March 12 in Austin.

But game as Slater, six stars of the show and creator Eric Kripke were, the panel was a mile wide and about three inches deep, with softball questions about whether the show can top itself and whether the actors enjoy the heightened craziness of the show (spoiler: They do).

Slater plays a narrator in the animated spinoff that Amazon recently launched, “The Boys Presents: Diabolical.” Kripke invited Slater to join the cast for Season Four.

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Stars featured included Laz Alonzo, Chace Crawford, Karen Fukuhara, local celebrity Jensen Ackles (who joins the cast as Soldier Boy in the new season) and the great Karl Urban, who kicked the panel into life whenever he spoke.

So what can fans expect from Season 3? A brief teaser trailer showed more exploding heads, a dance number, a dildo fight (a breaking trend at this year’s SXSW, see also “Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and lots of superhero brooding.

Kripke promised a huge, over-the-top moment that will either sell you on Season 3 or turn you off completely within the first 10 minutes. “It’s one of the craziest things anyone has done within the first 10 minutes of the season,” he said. “We try not to sweat too much about whether we’re topping ourselves. We’re just trying to dig deeper into the characters. We get into some really interesting stuff.”

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Added Urban, “The season really forces all of our characters to find out how far they’re willing to go to achieve what they want to achieve,” which sounds a lot like the first two seasons.

Actor Karl Urban talks March 12 about the third season of "The Boys," coming in June on Amazon Prime, during a SXSW panel in Austin.

For fans: Kripke also said that the mask will come off for mysterious character Black Noir.

Ackles said he was thrilled to join the show sporting a “hiatus and COVID beard” and said he was thrilled to let loose after two decades on broadcast TV shows like “Supernatural.”

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“Getting into a show that I was already a big fan of was a great opportunity and one I was pretty giddy about. I was geeking out on these guys behind their backs constantly. I don’t want to be the guy that comes in and (expletive)s it all up,” he said.

The panel lost steam about a half hour in before it went to audience questions, but the cast was friendly and engaging enough and the teaser for Season 3 didn’t disappoint.