Why The Boys Was The 'Perfect Opportunity' For X-Men Vet Shawn Ashmore To Play A Superhero Again

shawn ashmore lamplighter the boys season 2 amazon screenshot

Spoilers ahead for Episode 6 of The Boys Season 2 on Amazon, called "The Bloody Doors Off."

The latest episode of The Boys dropped all kinds of bombshells on the characters as Stormfront's real goal becomes clearer and clearer, but the titular Boys may have just gained an ally in the most unlikely form: Lamplighter. The Boys introduced X-Men alum Shawn Ashmore as Lamplighter, and and it's already clear that Lamplighter is quite different from his previous superhero character. The actor spoke with CinemaBlend's Nick Venable and explained why The Boys was a "perfect opportunity" for him.

Best known for playing Bobby Drake/Iceman in the X-Men movies, Shawn Ashmore explained what it was about The Boys that drew him back to the superhero genre:

I don't know. I mean, to be honest, what really appealed to me with The Boys is that it was so different. [The tone] was so different from who Bobby Drake was, and what the X-Men were. You know, being part of the X-Men and one of the good guys, I feel like I've really done that for 16 or 17 years, something like that. So this was the perfect opportunity. I was a fan of the show, and I also was not aware of the books when I watched the first season, so I had no idea what to expect. I didn't have any preconceived notions, I didn't know the characters, I didn't know the tone, I didn't know the humor, I didn't know the violence. And it blew me away.

Although both Bobby Drake and Lamplighter are technically known as superheroes, Shawn Ashmore's character in The Boys has done some pretty villainous things. As the Supe who retired from The Seven and opened a slot for Starlight ahead of the first season, Lamplighter was only mentioned on the show prior to "The Bloody Doors Off," most notably as the person who burned Grace Mallory's children alive. It was one of the more evil things attributed to The Seven, so Lamplighter seemed like he was going to be a complete and total villain. This episode proved that there's more to the story.

It turns out that Lamplighter was actually blackmailed by Mallory and the previous incarnation of The Boys into spying on The Seven, and he wasn't actually trying to murder her grandkids. He was trying to kill her, and while that's obviously still not great, "The Bloody Doors Off" revealed that he's haunted by what he did to the children, and his inability to save them once he realized what he'd done. In true Boys fashion, Lamplighter's debut was dark, violent, and even funny. No wonder it felt like a golden opportunity to Shawn Ashmore!

Shawn Ashmore went on about how he wanted to do something different with his new superhero gig after X-Men, saying this about playing Lamplighter for The Boys:

So when this opportunity came along in Season 2, I was like, yeah, if I'm going to be a superhero again and put on a costume and do all that, I want it to be so completely different from the character that I had played before, but also with a different tone and style. So to me, it was the perfect match. Like, I would love to continue to do superhero genre stuff, but I don't know if anything has been or would be as interesting as something like The Boys and something like Lamplighter, where it's like, you get to don the costume, you get to do all that stuff, but you also get to be kind of the bad guy at the same time, and I love that about it.

Interestingly, one of the funnier moments of the episode involved Lamplighter's costume. He showed up in his full Supe ensemble when he was being blackmailed, and The Boys couldn't help but crack up at his look, saying that he looked like "a majorette." I for one can't imagine Bobby Drake wearing Lamplighter's costume from when he was in The Seven, and definitely not doing most of what Lamplighter has done on the show so far.

That said, it seems like Lamplighter might become a valuable ally to The Boys, with Frenchie arguing that nothing they could do to him would torment him worse than he torments himself for burning Mallory's grandkids. He also helped save their lives and covered for them with Stormfront. They may not become the best of friends, but The Boys could use all the help they can get, and even Butcher is coming around to see that they might not be able to survive without a Supe or two on their side.

Unfortunately, only a couple episodes of The Boys are left before the beginning of another hiatus, although at least The Boys has already scored a renewal for Season 3, and Amazon is already fast-tracking a spinoff. Throw in the hints about the intriguing new character coming for Season 3 and what he will bring to the show, and there is a lot to look forward to. For me, I hope that includes more of Shawn Ashmore as Lamplighter... unless he sides with Homelander.

New episodes of The Boys Season 2 release Fridays on Amazon Prime. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for the latest in TV and movie news, and don't forget to check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule for some viewing options once The Boys is finished for Season 2.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel, but will sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation.