Why The Boys' Karl Urban Loves Playing A-Holes Like Billy Butcher

billy butcher the boys season 2 gallery
(Image credit: amazon press)
(Image credit: amazon press)

When The Boys returns to Amazon Prime Video for the already acclaimed Season 2, audiences are going to see a completely different Billy Butcher, in that he'll now be extremely sensitive to women, he'll agree with everything Hughie says, and he won't call people "cunts" all day long. Ha, just kidding! As if Karl Urban would allow such madness to occur. No, fans will definitely get to enjoy the same ol' brash and lovable Butcher in Season 2, and Urban is as pumped as anyone for the character's return.

CinemaBlend spoke with The Boys' Karl Urban and Laz Alonso ahead of Season 2's debut, and before we got into the nitty-gritty from those first three episodes – stay tuned for more exclusives on Friday and beyond – I asked Urban about being so beloved for playing a Grade-A asshole character like Billy Butcher. Here's what he told me:

You know, the fun thing about Butcher is that he just dares to do and say the things that we can't do in real life, and those are always the fun characters to play. I love his Machiavellian nature. I love it when I get the opportunity to convince other characters to go along with some harebrained scheme. And I love the fact that he does have this monster, this demon that's within him. and in a way, when I think about it, he is kind of like an inverse superhero. You know, that monster that comes out and bashes Mesmer's head against the sink in Season 1 is, in many ways, Butcher's Achilles heel.

I think most viewers would agree that Butcher is known for doing and saying things that most other people wouldn't, for better and often for worse. Being so dastardly and cavalier is precisely part of the reason why Karl Urban is so fond of portraying the comic book character. And by all means, Butcher would still be wonderfully enjoyable as a hate-to-love-him character even if his give-zero-fucks attitude was all there was to him. Thankfully, though, Butcher is also a 100% badass when he taps into the "monster" that lurks beneath his gritty surface, whether it involves smashing some rube's face into a sink, or driving a boat into the middle of a living whale (as teased in the Season 2 trailers).

Of course, for as much as Butcher likes to live as if he's at the center of the universe, his journey in Season 2 will tap into his history in a way that gives viewers more insight into why he is like he is. Plus, Butcher's brain is obviously working quite differently when the new episodes start up, as he now knows that his thought-dead wife Becca is out there in the world and raising a child with ostensibly his worst enemy. (If there's ever a reason to be an asshole, amirite?) Here's how Karl Urban put it:

In Season 2, we really get to explore some origins of Butcher and we get to understand how he has become who he is. Of course, you know, his journey is pretty much 100% about finding his wife, finding Becca Butcher and rescuing her, and the choices that he is forced to make along the way.

Kudos to anyone who assumes that the choices Butcher will make are going to ruffle some feathers with Homelander and Vought International, and maybe even Becca herself. Not to mention Hughie, Mother's Milk and the rest of The Boys. I mean, is Butcher even capable of doing something without riling others up? (Beyond his loyal pup, that is.)

the boys season 2 mother's milk gallery

(Image credit: amazon press)

To that end, I had to ask The Boys' Laz Alonso about why his character Mother's Milk has continued to find value in Butcher's antics, and why their partnership has lasted as long as it has. Here's what Alonso had to say:

Yeah, man, I think they're real friends. And when you have a real friend, you love your friends for their strengths and you accept their weaknesses; you accept their faults and you know their faults. And so I think that's where Mother's Milk is when Butcher comes back into his life. Mother's Milk leads with 'Fault, fault, fault, fault, fault.' He literally lays out everything that he could possibly dislike about Butcher, but at the end, Butcher knew that he could get through to him; it's his buddy. So I think that in Season 2, you get to see that friendship develop. We shot some amazing stuff, man. Everything didn't make the show, because you got to fit a lot and cram a lot into an hour. But we shot such great moments, Karl, that really showed our friendship, and the challenges between them. Friendships aren't easy. It's tough, maintaining them and forgiving friends, you know what I'm saying? And so I love the fact that you really see two strong characters putting that strength aside and just speaking to the humanity in each other. It's dope that we had that opportunity.

There are definitely moments during The Boys episodes (from both seasons) when Karl Urban and Laz Alonso will share a look that speaks volumes about the years that their characters have been pulling missions together. Whether it's Butcher's sheepish glare saying, "Yeah, all right, I'm getting out of line," or it's M.M.'s disappointedly optimistic look saying, "I know you're going to do the thing that literally everyone agrees you shouldn't do." Real friends are hard to have sometimes, not that I know what it's like to be friends with someone like Butcher. Frenchie, maybe.

I know it's not going to happen, but I'd love to see a full flashback episode of Butcher and Mother's Milk cementing their friendship outside of life-threatening adventures, to even better justify M.M. putting up with that dude's bullshit on a daily basis. When he's not just leaving everyone high and dry, that is. Oh, what am I saying, come here, Butcher, you old so-and-so, so we can pound chests and parentally glower at Hughie.

The Boys will bring Butcher and M.M.'s diabolical friendship back to fans when Season 2 debuts on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, September 4, at 3:01 a.m. ET. To see what other new and returning shows are on the way, head to our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.