Warning: spoilers ahead for The Boys season 3,An intriguing Ryan Butcher theory gets a major boost in The Boys season 3’s opening episodes. In a massive deviation from the original comics, Ryan Butcher – son of Becca and Homelander – debuted during the final moments of The Boys season 1. Young Cameron Crovetti was then cast as the terrifying tyke, and season 2 showed Ryan to be a caring, gentle boy who hadn’t yet harnessed the immense power running through his veins. Regardless, Ryan is immensely powerful, and shares many of his old man’s tricks – super-strength, invulnerability, heat vision, etc. So limitless is Ryan’s potential, he sliced up Stormfront like a fascist salami.,Defeating Stormfront (albeit accidentally) sparked theories about Ryan Butcher’s The Boys future. When Homelander first hooked up with his Nazi mistress, she asked him to seductively laser her skin. When Homelander protested out of fear for his girlfriend’s intestines, she promised her body was strong enough to take it, and take it she did. Ryan’s heat vision cutting right through Stormfront, therefore, strongly suggests his superhero potential is greater than his father’s. In Garth Ennis’ The Boys comic books, Black Noir is secretly a Homelander clone designed as a fail-safe should the Seven leader ever lose control. A post-season 2 The Boys theory proposed that Ryan’s power would allow him to eventually assume the Black Noir comic mantle of an anti-Homelander safeguard.,Related: The Boys Season 3: Soldier Boy’s Weapon Has A Dark Hidden Meaning,The Boys season 3 leans precariously in that very direction. When Karl Urban’s Billy Butcher visits Ryan in “Payback,” the youngster confesses to suffering nightmares about Homelander. Over a game of Connect 4, Butcher reassures his adoptive son, “One day, you’ll be tough enough…  then he can’t hurt you.” Though Butcher’s talking about Ryan defending himself here, the line proves Billy and Mallory are counting on Ryan to one day become their Homelander fail-safe… their Black Noir.,Suddenly their whole setup makes much more sense. The millions spent keeping Ryan from Vought, the military protection, Mallory adopting Ryan personally… Sweet and innocent the boy may be, but his future importance to the fight against Homelander is an unspoken factor in keeping Ryan safe. They’re not exactly training him for battle, but Billy Butcher expects Ryan to one day surpass his father’s power. Are we seriously to expect that if Homelander one day embarked on a global rampage, Mallory and Butcher wouldn’t call upon Ryan to step in?,Ryan Butcher taking Black Noir’s comic book role in The Boys might tie into season 3’s Soldier Boy storyline. A tip-off from Queen Maeve sends Butcher hunting for a fabled weapon that supposedly killed Soldier Boy in 1984, and by the final scenes of episode 3, the Boys are packing for Russia hunting for this mystery magic bullet to use against Homelander. Whatever Butcher and the gang find there, it won’t be as simple as a supe-killing pistol or an Excalibur-esque magic sword, and their quest may prove fruitless. If that trail turns cold, would Butcher then put all his faith in Ryan as the only method of finally killing Homelander?,Vought installing Black Noir as an anti-Homelander “in case of emergencies” panic button had disastrous consequences. The clone became unstable and developed an obsession with killing his target at all costs. Using Ryan as a weapon against Homelander could backfire just as spectacularly for entirely different reasons. Frightened though the boy might be of his old man, Homelander is still Ryan Butcher’s father, and in The Boys season 2, the Seven’s biggest sociopath showed genuine compassion towards his child. If Butcher and Mallory hope to one day let Ryan loose on their number one target, the pressure of killing his own father could accidentally turn Ryan into The Boys‘ next Homelander.,Start Free Trial NowMore: The Boys’ Laser Baby May Foreshadow A Season 3 Twist,The Boys continues Friday on Prime Video.