Lizze Broadway and Jaz Sinclair in 'Gen V' | Prime Video

Is ‘The Boys’ Spinoff ‘Gen V’ Canon?

Is ‘Gen V’ canon to ‘The Boys’ Universe? Is the series based on comic book source material?

Prime Video dropped the first three episodes of Gen V on September 29, 2023 — with the remaining five episodes set to air weekly until November 3. The series is a spinoff of the twisted superhero tale The Boys, which imagines superpowered individuals as morally bankrupt pawns of a scheming mega-corporation. Rather than aligning with the Marvel or DC Universes, these heroes are less palatable (to say the least). While some, like Starlight and Maeve, want to do the right thing, each suped-up individual is a lot less generically heroic, and a lot more human — vulnerable, cynical, afraid, self-serving, you get the idea. Dish aside  black-and-white idealism and open the door to gray realism.  

The Boys is based on the comic book series by Garth Ennis and co-created, designed, and illustrated by Darick Robertson. The show, doing all in its power to remain faithful to the source material, shows as much gory graphic destruction and super-fueled sexual escapades as possible without getting kicked off the streamer. So far, Gen V is living up to the main series, offering just as many manipulative power plays, suspenseful storylines, and graphic images. So, is this just a matter of strong screenwriters who fully grasp the comics’ vibe, or is the series working off existing source material from the comic creators? 

What is ‘Gen V’ about?

Gen V expands The Boys Universe, taking the saga to Godolkin University, where superpowered individuals train to become city heroes or glorified marketing tools for Vought. If you can’t save the day, you can join Dancing with the Stars or appear in a couple of commercials. Not everyone is made for the School of Crimefighting. 

Just like typical college students — who party too much and struggle to discover who they are — these teens are looking for their place in society. They just have a few extra hurdles in the way, like superpowers that can accidentally kill people if you’re drugged up and negligent. When a couple of students discover that something sinister is going down on campus, they’re put to the test: will they do what’s easy, or will they do what’s right? 

Spoiler Warning for ‘Gen V’ Season 1, Episode 1

‘Gen V’ is based on the narrative arc “We Gotta Go Now” from ‘The Boys’ comic 

“We Gotta Go Now” is the seventh story arc in the 72-issue comic book series and the three-companion piece, six-issue mini-series run of The Boys. The series follows the G-Men — founded by John Godolkin (whom the prestigious University in the series is named after). Like The Seven and The Payback, The G-Men are another group of elite superpowered individuals. 

If this is making you think of the X-Men, then good. That’s a perfect comparison for drawing up an image in your head, as that’s the very group the comic writers are parodying. Except, John Godolkin is not the kindhearted and wise leader that Professor Xavier is. Rather, he has sexually abused and brainwashed each member into loyalty and subservience. In the comic books, one of the original G-Men, Silver Kincaid, commits suicide, leading to quite the PR crisis for Vought-American. What will happen when investigators come poking around the G-Mansion?

In Gen V, Golden Boy (the number one student at Godolkin University) commits suicide. He was just about to become New York City’s primary hero. Why would he do such a thing? What’s going on behind the scenes? What dark secrets are going to surface as the series progresses? The show has a similar starting point but tinkers with the source material’s foundation and subsequent events. 

Though it’s clear, given the substantial differences already existent, that Gen V takes limited influence from the comic book series — relying on select primary narratives to piece together an original story — it could be considered “technically” canon, as there is existing source material propelling the spinoff. Yet, the screenwriters definitely left a lot of “We Gotta Go Now” on the cutting room floor, opting for a less X-Men-esque spoof. 

About the author

Josh Lezmi

Josh is an entertainment writer and editor at Thought Catalog.