Why The Boys' Black Noir Probably Won't Get A Backstory, According To The Showrunner

black noir the boys season 2
(Image credit: amazon press)
(Image credit: amazon press)

Some spoilers below for the first four episodes of The Boys Season 2, so be warned!

On top of introducing Aya Cash's fascinatingly shitty new supe Stormfront, The Boys has given fans a deeper understanding of many core characters' psyches in the first half of Season 2, from Homelander's parenting and psycho milk-meetings with Not Really Stillwell to Butcher and Becca to the Billy Joel-loving Hughie. Interestingly enough, even The Seven's most enigmatic member, Black Noir, has already been at the center of several key moments and sequences so far. Just don't expect to get a full-blown backstory anytime soon.

Nathan Mitchell's Black Noir got to kick off Season 2 with a blistering murder streak that veered empathetic, and he's apparently now on a lone wolf mission to track down Karl Urban's Billy Butcher. Most intriguing, perhaps, was the deadly supe's quietly emotional breakdown after the truth about Compound V went public, which sparked curiosity about the character's parents and how his transition into Black Noir went down. But when CinemaBlend spoke with The Boys' showrunner Eric Kripke ahead of the Season 2 premiere, he seemed intent on keeping Black Noir as more of a mystery. In his words:

You know, we see a lot more of Noir this season, but we don't entirely learn a lot more about Noir this season. I mean, to me, what makes Noir 'Noir' is he's just this complete cipher; like, you just don't know anything about him and and he's just completely mysterious. But then he has these strange reactions, like he'll make the teddy bear dance, or he'll cry, and he'll reveal some vulnerabilities, emotional vulnerabilities. Then he'll just return to just being this completely still, horrifying Terminator of a character, and that's kind of what I like about him, I have to say. Every so often, it comes up like, 'We should really learn who he is.' And I'm like, 'But should we know? Isn't it more interesting that we just never really quite understand how he got that way?' So I think Noir definitely remains as mysterious as always.

Considering how much pop culture seems obsessed with telling origin stories, there's always something quite refreshing about having a character where the whole point is that their backstory stays unknown. Not necessarily ignored, per se, since the moments we do get from Black Noir in Season 2 do offer vague clues about his upbringing. But it's safe to think we won't be getting any major flashbacks, and that's just how Eric Kripke likes it.

As hinted at earlier, I was personally most enthralled by Black Noir sobbing over the Compound V news, since it's not quite clear what he's crying about. Has he spent all this time believing that his badass abilities and superhero distinction were a sign of his inherent superiority? Was his relationship with his parents or guardians destroyed with some situation that would have been moot had Black Noir known the truth about the Compound V injections? The moment with the kid in the premiere's opening sequence seems to hint at his compassionate connection to youth, which was not at all apparent in him mangling all of the adults just before that.

The curiosity there is part of the fun of watching, though, since it's never obvious when the creative team will whet fans' Black Noir appetites by dropping in a new visual detail or factoid to contemplate. Sure, that would be more frustrating to deal with for more prominent characters like Homelander and Starlight, since deep dives into their backgrounds are entirely connected and necessary for giving their current narratives more proper context.

To be sure, Eric Kripke didn't 100% rule out The Boys dropping a comic-inspired dive into Black Noir's past later on, but I think it's safe to say that audiences won't be getting one in Season 2, and probably not in Season 3. Considering how successfully Eric Kripke has veered away from straightforwardly adapting The Boys from comic writer Garth Ennis' storytelling, it's entirely possible Black Noir's backstory is different from the source material, making him even more of a mystery in the long run. (But holy shit, it would be wild if the TV show DID introduce that part of the story.)

Do you want to learn more about Black Noir, or are you perfectly happy with him remaining enigmatic? Let us know in the poll below! The first four episodes of The Boys Season 2 are available for streaming now on Amazon Prime Video, with new episodes releasing weekly. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more exclusive coverage, and head to our 2020 Fall TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows will be available in the near future.

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Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.