Seth Rogen weighs in on superhero movie controversy: "Without Marvel, The Boys wouldn't exist"

Homelander and Starlight in The Boys season 3
(Image credit: Amazon)

Seth Rogen has come out in defense of Marvel movies amid the ongoing controversy surrounding superhero flicks and their dominance in theaters. The actor, who most recently appeared in Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans, credited the studio's content for making The Boys possible – and claimed that the hit Prime Video series would be far less interesting without the existence of the MCU.

As part of a big career profile in the latest issue of Total Film magazine, the one with John Wick: Chapter 4 on the cover, Rogen talked about how he wound up producing The Boys with his pal Evan Goldberg. "One of the first things we ever bonded over was a love of comic books. I still have all the comic books I grew up with somewhere. I would go to the comic-book store every week," he said. "So as someone who just loves these stories, and always fantasized about seeing them brought to life, I think it's cool. I like a lot of the films. 

"I think that Kevin Feige is a brilliant guy, and I think a lot of the filmmakers he's hired to make these movies are great filmmakers. But as someone who doesn't have children… It is [all] kind of geared towards kids, you know? There are times where I will forget. I'll watch one of these things, as an adult with no kids, and be like, 'Oh, this is just not for me,'" Rogen laughed, noting that he and Evan never stopped reading comic books, though, and one day realized that there weren't many adaptations of more grown-up graphic novels onscreen. 

"I remember when the first issue of The Boys came out. We were big fans of [writer/creator] Garth Ennis, because we'd read Preacher already, and we bought it. We had the same experience that I think, now, audiences are having, which is: 'Oh, we've been reading Marvel for the last 15 years and now there's starting to be stuff like this, which is a great addition to this landscape. It's [the same genre] but not considering younger audiences in the slightest. If anything, it's much more geared towards adult audiences."

Seth Rogen

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I think just as naturally to us as The Boys fell into the comic-book-store landscape
as a comic, we thought it would fall well into the media landscape as a TV show. But truthfully, without Marvel, The Boys wouldn't exist or be interesting. I'm aware of that. I think if it was only Marvel, it would be bad. But I think it isn't – clearly. An example I'm always quoting is, there's a point in history where a bunch of filmmakers would have been sitting around, being like, 'Do you think we'll ever make a movie that's not a western again? Everything's a western! Westerns dominate the fucking movies. If it doesn't have a hat and a gun and a carriage, people aren't going to go see it any more.'"

The cultural merit of superhero movies has proven a hot topic of debate ever since legendary filmmakers Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorsese admitted that they weren't a fan of Marvel movies. In a think-piece for The New York Times, the latter likened them to theme park attractions: one-and-done thrills with little substance in the way of character or stakes. 

"The situation, sadly, is that we now have two separate fields: There's worldwide audiovisual entertainment, and there's cinema," he explained. "They still overlap from time to time, but that's becoming increasingly rare. And I fear that the financial dominance of one is being used to marginalize and even belittle the existence of the other."

The Fabelmans is in cinemas now, while The Boys season 4 is expected to land on Prime Video in late 2023 or early 2024. For more from our interview with Rogen, pick up a copy of the new issue of Total Film, which hits stands (and digital devices) this Thursday, February 2. Check out the covers below:

John Wick: Chapter 4

(Image credit: Lionsgate/Total Film)

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Matt Maytum
Editor, Total Film

I'm the Editor at Total Film magazine, overseeing the running of the mag, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.

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