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Who Is Lamplighter in The Boys? Everything You Need to Know About the Character Played By Shawn Ashmore
The latest episode of The Boys pared a newly-introduced face with a very familiar name: Viewers finally met Lamplighter, a former member of the Seven who was first mentioned way back in the series premier, but remained offscreen until this season.
In case you need a refresher, it was Lamplighter’s retirement from the Seven that made room for Starlight to join the team in the first place. Later that season, CIA agent Grace Mallory revealed that Lamplighter burned her grandchildren to death in retaliation for her work with Butcher, Mother’s Milk, and Frenchie.
Though the life of a member of the Seven is one of addressing adoring crowds, starring in action movies, and living in lush digs, life after a supe’s stint on the all-star team is an entirely different thing. The Deep, removed from the team after sexually assaulting Starlight, is banished to Sandusky, Ohio. And though Vought is publicly spinning A-Train’s departure as voluntary retirement, the speedster fights his forced retirement tooth and nail, and is so forlorn about his post-Seven prospects that he’s considering joining the Deep in becoming a member of a Scientology-like religious group.
Lamplighter’s post-Seven afterlife turns out to be the grimmest of all: He’s working at a Vought black site called Sage Grove, where the company injects experimental human subjects with Compound V and monitors the development of their superpowers. If anything goes wrong, or when the experiment’s over, Lamplighter, who has the power to control fire, burns them to a crisp.
Despite the fact that he’s a professional murderer, when we finally meet Lamplighter, he’s not actually the worst guy in the world—or at least, in the world of this thoroughly grim and bloody TV show. He didn’t know that Mallory’s grandchildren would be home when he burned down her house, and he doesn’t want to be participating in Vought’s secret experiments, which is why he escapes Sage Grove with Mother’s Milk, Frenchie, and Kimiko in Episode 6.
The Boys is based on Garth Ennis’ comics series of the same name, but Lamplighter’s story played out a little differently on the page. In that series as in the show, Lamplighter murdered Mallory’s family—but in the comics, the CIA agent (who’s a dude called Greg Mallory in the source material) gets his revenge by shooting Lamplighter in the head.
X-Men star Shawn Ashmore plays Lamplighter in The Boys.
Jon KopaloffGetty Images
We first got a glimpse of Lamplighter in Episode Five, when Stormfront makes a call to Sage Grove. Exactly who he is (and the Compound V testing plot) is revealed in another episode, but fans got to see the actor who plays the retired supe: X-Men star Shawn Ashmore. He played Bobby Drake, better known as Iceman, in the genre-resetting superhero series—the movie that paved the way for the superhero industrial complex that The Boys’ is critiquing.
When it was announced this summer that Ashmore would be joining the show, showrunner Eric Kripke commented in a statement about the actor’s casting. “We were thrilled that Shawn — who is, let’s be honest, an OG superhero — wanted to play the crucial part of Lamplighter,” said Kripke. “He brings so much depth, menace, and world weary humanity to this former member of the Seven. And Shawn is a really good guy. We’re grateful to have him join our bloody little family.”
Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.
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