Do I need to watch Gen V before The Boys season 4? At this point, you probably should

Claudia Doumit in Gen V
(Image credit: Prime Video)

The Boys spin-off show Gen V takes place just after the events of the mainline series' third season, but do you need to watch it in order to understand season 4? Honestly, the answer just got a whole lot more complicated. But more on that in a second.

First, some context: Gen V is based on The Boys comic book story arc "We Gotta Go Now" by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson and follows a group of young supes who attend Godolkin University, a college run by Vought International.

Gen V is canon to The Boys universe, with the first season setting up the events of The Boys season 4. But do they exist separately or do they provide valuable context for what's to come? Scroll down for our verdict on whether or not you need to do a binge-watch before The Boys season 4.

Can you watch The Boys season 4 without watching Gen V?

The Boys season 4

(Image credit: Prime Video)

In short, yes, you should watch Gen V before The Boys season 5. Why? In The Boys season 4 trailer, Billy mentions a "virus that kills supes" and it's something that is elaborated upon at length in the show itself. The trouble is, it's a plot point that formed the basis of a major storyline in Gen V first. 

Two characters from Gen V, Cate and Sam, also show up but (as of writing) don't appear to have a tangible impact on the overarching storyline at Vought.

Showrunner Eric Kripke says, however, that the new season spells it out for those who didn't watch the spin-off show.

"When it comes up, we’re very careful to say, 'Here’s where the virus came from, and here’s the story of it," Kripke told SFX Magazine in the issue that features The Boys season 4 on the cover.

Having said that, we do believe you're missing a key chunk of context if you haven't watched Gen V before The Boys season 4.

Gen V is canon to the Boys universe and does a pretty good job of existing as its own entity. Both of those things are true. Still, we can't shake the feeling that Gen V introduces key elements (and features several cameos from The Boys cast) that you really won't want to miss out on. Our advice? It's bloody, bloody good, and gives you the second half of something that could be crucial to The Boys' endgame ahead of its final season.

The Boys season 4 hits Prime Video on June 13. It's been a while, so be sure check out our The Boys season 3 ending explained to refresh your memory.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.

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