Soldier Boy makes his long-awaited bow in The Boys season 3, and Jensen Ackles’ debut is the perfect Supernatural Dean Winchester Easter egg.
Caution: spoilers ahead for The Boys season 3, episode 3
Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy introduction in The Boys season 3 drops a perfect nod to Supernatural‘s Dean Winchester. For 15 seasons, Jensen Ackles was the scourge of paranormal monsters and pastry-based desserts alike as Dean Winchester, but when the brotherly bloodshed came to an end in 2020, he quickly landed an exciting gig on The Boysreuniting with Supernatural creator Eric Kripke, who currently serves as Amazon’s ringmaster for all things supe-related.
Ackles plays Soldier Boy – a Vought legend who found fame during World War II but vanished in the 1980s under mysterious circumstances. Soldier Boy appears throughout The Boys season 3’s opening two episodes through old photographs and corny archive footage, but makes his onscreen debut proper in episode 3 (“Barbary Coast”) when Grace Mallory recounts the devastating Payback incident in Nicaragua. Mallory remembers Soldier Boy and his calamitous crew arriving at the camp in a grand, over-the-top entrance, immediately whipping her troops into a frenzy like a violent version of The Beatles. Soldier Boy, of course, makes an almighty splash as the man of the hour.
The pomp and bombast of Soldier Boy’s entrance fits perfectly with Vought’s culture in The Boysbut for Supernatural fans, it’s also a massive Easter egg and a homage to Jensen Ackles’ iconic role as Dean Winchester. The very first time Soldier Boy appears, he’s holding a grenade launcher being loaded by loyal sidekick, Gunpowder. The grenade launcher – or rather lack of one – was a recurring motif for Dean Winchester in Supernatural. Sam and Dean carried a small arsenal in the modified trunk of their Chevrolet Impala, and the grenade launcher sat gathering dust inside as early as Supernatural season 1. Dean would implore his brother to let him crack out the launcher on several occasions, only to be denied, but in a hugely cathartic moment from Supernatural season 12’s “Who We Are,” Dean fired the grenade launcher to break free from the Winchesters’ locked down bunker.
Soldier Boy packing a very similar weapon during his very first The Boys season 3 scene is the perfect throwback to Jensen Ackles’ past, but the Nicaragua sequences tosses another Supernatural Easter egg into the pot. Soldier Boy’s arrival is accompanied by the sounds of “Rock You Like A Hurricane” by Scorpions. When he wasn’t eating pie or fantasizing about grenade launchers, Dean Winchester famously enjoyed the classic rock music his father brought him up on. Scorpions were very much part of that diet (one of band’s tunes does appear in Supernatural season 1), so if the hard rock classic feels somewhat disconnected from Soldier Boy, that’s because it’s another fun nod to Dean Winchester.
With Jensen Ackles fresh out of Supernatural and reunited with Eric Kripke, references like the grenade launcher and the Scorpions song were inevitable. There’s even a sprinkling of Dean Winchester in Soldier Boy’s personality when he haplessly hits on young Grace Mallory, only to get sheepish when she knocks him back. Though Soldier Boy will surely become less Dean-ish as The Boys season 3 continues, could Jensen Ackles drop more nods to his famous hunter? Maybe Soldier Boy drove a black Impala before he vanished. Perhaps a grumpy British man refers to him as “Squirrel.” Or will Robert Singer dismiss Soldier Boy as just a useless eejit?
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The Boys continues Friday on Prime Video.
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