The Origin of Black Noir’s Nut Allergy
Episode 7 nearly culminates in the death of Starlight at Black Noir’s hands. Only a last-minute intervention by Queen Maeve and a strategically deployed Almond Joy candy bar saves the day. How did this unexpected plot twist come about? It certainly wasn’t inspired by the comics. Showrunner Eric Kripke told IGN it was instead an embellishment inspired by the fact that actor Nathan Mitchell actually suffers from a nut allergy in real life.
“Yeah, we came up with it,” said Kripke. “Actually, the actors and I were all at Comic-Con promoting Season 1, and Nathan Mitchell, the actor who plays Black Noir, has a very severe nut allergy. And I had just learned that at Comic-Con. You know, if someone has a granola bar with nuts he’s literally gotta back away from it, cause it’s like a vampire with garlic. And [series star] Karl [Urban] started laughing and said, ‘You should really give that to Black Noir as his Kryptonite.’ And my response was, ‘That’s a brilliant idea.'”
Kripke continued, “I mean, everyone thinks that a superhero’s weakness is going to be this really exotic thing, and it’s just so funny to me that it’s actually a very common thing that is thousands of people’s Kryptonite. People are just sometimes born with nut allergies, like Nathan, like the actual real-life Black Noir. So we gave it to him as his weakness and if you go back and watch the episodes again, if you remember when he goes down to crime analytics in Episode 4, and Anika, the tech there, is eating an Almond Joy, and he holds out the garbage can like, ‘Put that thing away!'”
The True Significance of the Nut Allergy
While the nut allergy is mostly played for laughs in this episode, it does potentially have significant ramifications for Black Noir and his role in the series. As we’ve explored before, Black Noir serves a very specific function in the original comic. He’s a deranged clone of Homelander tasked with keeping an eye on Vought’s most famous creation and killing him if he ever threatens the company. It’s always been a mystery as to how closely the Amazon series is adapting the source material in that regard, and this episode suggests not very.
The takeaway from Black Noir’s ignominious defeat here is that he probably isn’t a Homelander clone. We’ve already seen him take some serious damage over the course of Season 2, and the fact that he suffers a nut allergy where Homelander himself is seemingly without any weakness suggests the two characters don’t share the same powers or genetic makeup.
On top of that, we catch a glimpse of Black Noir’s unmasked face in this scene. While he’s clearly covered in scars, Black Noir appears to be Black (as is Mitchell himself), so that would seem to suggest the series is moving in a very different direction with the character. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time the Amazon series has altered the comic’s story. And with so much emphasis on the reveal that Homelander fathered a superhuman son, the Amazon series may not need the Homelander clone angle.
For more on The Boys, check out our review of Season 2, Episode 7, and read up on Stormfront’s comic book background.
Jesse is a mild-mannered staff writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter.