One The Boys Actor Was Recast And Fans Totally Missed It

03June2024

Recasting happens all the time. Tragedy sometimes strikes, like in the case of Professor Albus Dumbledore in the "Harry Potter" series, where Michael Gambon assumed the role following the passing of the original performer, Richard Harris. Oftentimes, recasting is a result of scheduling conflicts, like when "May December" breakout star Charles Melton took over the role of Reggie Mantle on "Riverdale" due to original actor Ross Butler's scheduling conflicts with "13 Reasons Why." And sometimes a character is recast simply because they weren't right for the role, as was famously the case with Eric Stoltz, who was replaced by Michael J. Fox after six weeks of shooting "Back to the Future."

In all of these instances, fans were well aware of the recastings as they happened, but once a person has been playing a role long enough, audiences sometimes forget they were ever recast in the first place. This definitely happened with Melton on "Riverdale" and it also happened with Cameron Crovetti as Ryan on "The Boys."

That's right, a different actor was initially playing Ryan Butcher than the angsty teenage son of Homelander that audiences are used to. Antihero Billy Butcher (Karl Urban) is motivated to take down Supes because of his unbridled hatred toward Homelander (Antony Starr), who he views as responsible for the death of his wife Becca (Shantel VanSanten). In the season 1 finale, however, it was revealed that not only was Becca still alive, but that she was raising her son Ryan in private, as he was conceived as a result of Homelander assaulting Becca. Ryan was played by Parker Corno, with blonde hair and bright blue eyes — the All-American Aryan apple of Homelander's eye.

But when the show returned for season 2, Corno was out and Crovetti was in. So what happened?

Why was Ryan Butcher recast?

The Boys" was Parker Corno's first professional credit, with IMDb listing his only other credits as "Dutch Kid #1" on the 2019 show "Impulse," and the role of "Young David Arnold" in the 2022 film "Burden." This is to say that his acting resume doesn't allow for a strong showcase of his potential talent, and given the increased presence of Ryan Butcher in the subsequent seasons, the actor playing him needed to have some serious acting chops. Corno may be a very talented young actor, but without a resume to show that he can truly handle the material, "The Boys" creative team likely needed to hedge its bets on someone with more experience.

Enter: Cameron Crovetti.

While Crovetti looks quite a bit more like Shantel VanSanten's Becca than he does Antony Starr's Homelander, he's got an imposing resume. Before joining "The Boys" in 2020, Crovetti had some high-profile credits to his name, and those have only expanded in the years since. He and his brother Nicholas played twins Josh and Max Wright in the HBO series "Big Little Lies," something the pair would do again as twins Elias and Lukas in the American remake of the Austrian horror film "Goodnight Mommy." He's clearly very comfortable working in genres that boast violence, anguish, and buckets of blood.

Ryan Butcher is one of the most complicated roles on "The Boys," as the teenager is navigating superpowers he didn't know he had, the realization that his father is the most powerful man on Earth, and at the end of season 2, Ryan accidentally kills his mother Becca with his uncontrolled heat ray vision while trying to protect her from the alt-right Supe, Stormfront. These are seriously intense and emotionally demanding situations requiring a very talented young actor to pull off. Crovetti was the right call, even if he looks wildly different from Corno.

Why didn't fans realize the character was recast?

Given the noticeable differences in appearance, one would think that audiences would have remembered that Ryan was recast, but after a very popular X user dedicated to sharing "The Boys' Out of Context Clips" noted that they were rewatching season 1 and had "completely forgotten" that Ryan had been recast for season 2, hundreds of fans admitted to also having completely blocked out the original actor's performance at the end of season 1. "Now how don't I remember the one from season 1??" user Mareco Morrow posted, continuing with, "I had it burned in my memory that the current Ryan played him all through the series." Plenty of fans shared a similar sentiment to user @JuiceBodMisha who wrote, "I know you lying. I don't remember that boy." More than a few called this a case of the Mandela Effect, or widespread false memories misremembered by a large group of people.

More than likely, the reason so many have misremembered the recasting is simply that in season 1, Ryan was a glorified cameo (credited only as "8-year-old boy"), while in season 2 and beyond, Ryan is a fully-fledged character with his own arc. Season 1 premiered on July 26, 2019, but season 2 didn't roll out until September 4, 2020 — over a year later. The season 2 trailer showed clips from the final moment of the season 1 finale, but intentionally only showed Becca and Homelander, saving Ryan's reveal for a solo shot in an unrelated scene. This removes any reminder of the new Ryan not being in the scene and makes it pretty easy to forget what a kid looked like who was only shown for a few minutes of screen time.

The Boys" is available to stream on Prime Video.

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