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For a while, The Boys made it seem like fans might never learn anything explicitly personal about Black Noir, Season 2's "Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker" supplied audiences with a one-two blast of background information for The Seven's silent and extremely deadly supe. For one, it was revealed that Noir suffers from a crippling allergy to tree nuts, which Queen Maeve used to Starlight's advantage as the latter was being choked out. In bringing the allergy detail to light, Maeve also revealed that Black Noir is actually a Black man beneath the mask.
Black Noir's race reveal was an extremely interesting surprise for The Boys' showrunner Eric Kripke to bring out. Not only because Homelander specifically stated during his diversity talk in Episode 4 that Noir doesn't identify with any one race, but also because it seems to make the comic book's giant Noir twist impossible. Beyond the narrative, though, Noir being a person of color is also necessary to expand on pop culture representation, which The Boys star Nathan Mitchell talked about during his recent interview with CinemaBlend. Understandably, Mitchell brought up the late Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman when talking about the reveal's importance, saying:
Yeah, I think it's important for everybody to be able to see themselves in superheroes and reflected in our media. And as someone who grew up loving superheroes, that often wasn't in the canon of Marvel or DC that there were that many black superheroes. I gravitated to Spider-Man partially because it was a mask, and anybody can be behind that mask. So I think when you see what's under the mask, and that Black Noir is Black, it just offers another person for Black people to see themselves in. It's a bit different, because I'm just, like, Black Noir, but Chadwick Boseman, what he meant to all of us... I felt it when I watched [Black Panther] – you know, I felt that when he passed [also] – but when I saw that movie, I never had those feelings in my life.
At this point, Nathan Mitchell's emotions were on display in a way that wouldn't be expected from his Boys character, although Black Noir did seem to take the Compound V news as hard as anyone once the conspiracy went public. There's probably a deeper conversation to be had about being a Black superhero who discovers his origins were government-sanctioned, too.
Here, Nathan Mitchell continued talking about Chadwick Boseman's impact as Marvel's Black Panther:
To see a Black man exist as his own superhero in a world unto himself that was untouched by slavery or colonialism, to see the potential that country could reach, and to be able to see yourself reflected in society is so important. Like, there's a psychological need we all have. You go back to the era of cavemen and we were painting on walls and telling stories. So we always have this need to tell stories and put ourselves up in this larger-than-life image. But we also need to see ourselves individually, and so Black Noir is one more example of that.
Very powerful words from an actor who sadly can never elucidate in the same way while in character, given Black Noir's stealthy nature. At this point, we're not even completely sure the supe is going to successfully recover from Maeve's tree nut attack, or if he's going to be incapacitated whenever Season 3 starts up next year. Maybe his absence is what brings Jensen Ackles' Soldier Boy back to the forefront, or maybe we'll get to see another Black character join returning member A-Train in the team's ranks.
The Boys is unfortunately done with Season 2, with all eight episodes currently available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. While waiting for news on Season 3 and the in-development spinoff series, be sure and check out our Fall 2020 TV premiere schedule to see what new and returning shows are popping up soon.