The Boys’ Black Noir Identity Twist Explained


Warning: spoilers ahead for The boys season 3

The boys Season 3 completely reframes Black Noir by revealing the tragic truth behind the man – here’s everything we learn in “Barbary Coast” and what it all means. Since The boys premiering in 2019, Vought’s Seven’s lineup has fluctuated more than Billy Butcher’s accent. Though Homelander, Queen Maeve, and Starlight remain present throughout, A-Train left then came back, Deep left then came back, and Translucent left then came back…in multiple pieces. Black Noir, however, provides the Seven with a reliable presence. A shadowy ninja with powers of strength, agility, and durability, Black Noir is the very definition of “silent but deadly.”


Although he provides the backbone of the Seven, The boys revealed valuable details about Black Noir’s backstory and identity. Season 2 confirmed that Noir was a black man under the mask and also hinted at a horrific facial injury. Meanwhile, The Boys Presents: Devilish surprisingly confirmed, Noir was Vought’s most popular hero in the years leading up to Homelander’s launch. Rather than being jealous of Madelyn Stillwell’s patriotic newcomer, Black Noir actually helped Homelander on his unstoppable road to the top, explaining why these two supes are so tight in The boys.

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Those rare factoids aside, Black Noir cast an aura of utter mystery through The boys…so far. As Billy Butcher continues his investigation of Soldier Boy, Black Noir’s untold story gradually unfolds. Not only do the lingering questions get answered, but Noir becomes an infinitely more tragic character with each scene.

Black Noir was a member of Soldier Boy’s recovery team

The Payback team in a poster for The Boys.

The boys Black Noir’s first detail of season 3 comes during the first episode, where Queen Maeve hands Butcher a stolen file regarding Payback. A photo inside shows the central trio of the group consisting of Jensen Ackles’ Soldier Boy, Laurie Holden’s Crimson Countess and a gun-loving young Gunpowder, but second from the left is the familiar figure and discreet pre-Seven Black Noir. Butcher then cements the bond by suggesting Maeve look a little closer to her home in Seven Tower for more information on Soldier Boy’s death. The boys Already teased Black Noir’s Payback past in marketing material, but Season 3 confirms exactly when and how he was a member.

When it comes to the strongest sup, Soldier Boy has the edge over his masked colleague. Butcher thinks the War Hero was nearly on par with Homelander, while Black Noir is likely closer to Queen Maeve’s power level. Either way, the fights in the Payback team obviously earned Noir a strong following, as flashbacks reveal that “Black Noir Dark Roast” coffee beans were a thing in the 1980s ( and used to smuggle cocaine into the United States). During a conversation with Stan Edgar, Noir also mentions that he takes on a more “central rolein Payback, which talks about his booming stock, and how he’ll one day succeed Soldier Boy as Vought’s top guy.

Black Noir’s Age, Identity, and Superhero Persona Explained

Fritzy Klevans Destine as Black Noir in The Boys

In The boysToday, Black Noir is famous for never speaking and never taking off his mask, but the Season 3 flashback to Nicaragua explains where those habits come from. Speaking privately with Stan Edgar, a helmetless black man says he wants “lose the maskand become a superhero with a face. His request is flatly denied as Edgar’s market research shows the “silent ninja” gimmick is incredibly popular with young boys. would, according to Vought, only ruin Noir’s brand This scene confirms that Black Noir’s enigmatic aura was – initially, at least – a marketing ploy.

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The boys season 3 then adds a much darker note to Black Noir’s story by revealing that his superhero debut was hampered by racism. Silent ninjas might score high in popularity polls, but Stan Edgar describes the notion of a black man on America’s top superhero team as a “not leavingfor parts of the United States in 1984. Black Noir’s costume was designed to cover his skin color.

Beneath the mask, Noir comes across as a fairly regular supe with regular supe worries, and is played by Fritzy Klevans-Destin rather than regular cast member Nathan Mitchell. Given its harsh reputation in The boys, it’s ironic that Black Noir had a great sense of humor in 1984, half-joking with Edgar about how he wears his mask while hailing cabs. Noir’s bright, vocal, and almost goofy personality is – by design – the exact opposite of his superhero reputation.

Now The boys unveiled the face of Black Noir, one can roughly guess at his age. “Barbary Coast” doesn’t state exactly when Noir was born, but the character looks (and bearing in mind he’s already an established hero at this point) in his early twenties. Payback’s mission to Nicaragua was in 1984, so Noir would be in his 60s The boys in the present day of Season 3. Compound V subjects generally age more slowly than normal people, of course, so it’s possible that Black Noir has been around for even longer than that.

Why Black Noir wears a mask and never talks to boys

Fritzy Klevans Destine as Wounded Black Noir in The Boys

Two big questions have followed Black Noir throughout The boys seasons 1 & 2 – why is he wearing a mask, and why isn’t he talking? The boys Season 3’s “Barbary Coast” satisfies on both counts…and it’s all thanks to Payback’s blatant incompetence. Payback was drafted into Grace Mallory’s operation in Nicaragua as a trial for supes joining the US military, but the experience went as badly as expected. Ignoring a direct order from Stan Edgar, Swatto couldn’t help stretching his insect wings, and the sight of a costumed idiot hovering above the trees alerted enemy soldiers to the location of Mallory’s camp. If they had been even from a distance helpful, Vought’s Payback team could have defeated these soldiers easily. Instead, Crimson Countess struggled to tell the difference between friend and foe, while Gunpowder was so annoyed at having a big gun in his hands that he mowed down anything that moved.

Related: Why The Boys Season 3 Is So Different

A powerful combination of friendly fire and rockets left the entire camp in a fiery mess, and Black Noir was caught right in the chaos. When Mallory finds out, the left side of Noir’s face is completely burned – the skin bubbling, the left eye loose in its socket, and large chunks of burnt hair. These injuries explain the glimpse of the burned-faced spectators spotted in The boys season 2. Looking directly at Mallory, Noir searches desperately for his fallen mask, hinting that he will spend the next 40 years purposely covering his face to hide the damage. The boys‘Tragedy of recovery pays for Stan Edgar’s ominous prediction that Black Noir will one day be “begging” for his mask return.

As Noir gurgles towards Mallory, audiences can also assume that’s how the supe lost his ability to speak. There’s a bitter irony in how Black Noir suffered far more injuries than his fellow Paybacks, but was actually one of two capable members of the group (Soldier Boy himself being the other). During the attack, Black was shown fending off the attackers with a blade, deftly shielding Stan Edgar from harm while the other supes were spectacularly mistaken.

How The Boys Season 3 Explains Black Noir’s Personality

Filling in the gaps, it looks like Vought was patching up Black Noir and grooming their man for a post-Payback solo career, which he took to love Justin Timberlake after N*Sync. The boys The Season 3 flashback to Nicaragua might also explain why Noir is such a loyal soldier for Vought these days. The so-called “Silent Knight” clearly has Stan Edgar’s ear, with the couple’s shared history stretching back four whole decades. Black Noir might even have been Edgar’s favorite project in the same way that Madelyn Stillwell oversaw Homelander. Either way, Noir’s longtime association with Edgar perfectly explains why he never questions orders and always responds to Vought’s bidding with perfect clinical obedience.

However The boys season 3 doesn’t spend long with the young black guy, he’s presented as a more reasonable, down-to-earth supe – a far cry from selfish types like Soldier Boy and Homelander, or reckless types like A-Train and Crimson Countess. This rational mindset might explain the flickers of kindness that Black has shown earlier in The boys – delivery of a soft toy to a young child during the mission in Syria, for example. He’s still awful, obviously, but not enough just as awful as everyone else, and the Season 3 flashback provides more context as to why Black Noir’s moral compass is pointing in the direction it’s headed.

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The boys continues Friday on Prime Video.

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