Marvel's Runaways, or simply Runaways, is an American web television series created for Hulu by Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films and other television series of the franchise. The series is produced by ABC Signature Studios, Marvel Television and Fake Empire Productions, with Schwartz and Savage serving as showrunners.
Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, and Allegra Acosta star as the Runaways, six teenagers from different backgrounds who unite against their parents, the Pride, portrayed by Angel Parker, Ryan Sands, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi, and James Yaegashi. A film from Marvel Studios based on the Runaways began development in May 2008, before being shelved in 2013 due to the success of The Avengers. In August 2016, Marvel Television announced that Runaways had received a pilot order from Hulu, after being developed and written by Schwartz and Savage. Casting for the Runaways and the Pride were revealed in February 2017. Filming on the pilot began in Los Angeles in February 2017. The series was officially ordered by Hulu in May 2017.
The first season was released from November 21, 2017, to January 9, 2018. In January 2018, Runaways was renewed for a 13-episode second season.
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||10 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||46–53 minutes|
|Original release||November 21, 2017 – present|
|Related shows||Marvel Cinematic Universe television series|
Old Lace, a genetically engineered Deinonychus telepathically linked with Gert Yorkes, appears in the series. The character is portrayed by a puppet that was operated by six people, including one person pumping air through the puppet to show the dinosaur breathing. Barer called the puppet "incredible ... You see her emotions. We don’t not make use of that."
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Reunion"||Brett Morgen||Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage||November 21, 2017|
|A girl named Destiny is "rescued" by the Church of Gibborim from two muggers, who were actually trying to save her. Six months later, friends Alex Wilder, Nico Minoru, Chase Stein, Gert Yorkes, Karolina Dean, and Molly Hernandez have grown apart since the death of Nico's sister, Amy, two years earlier. Alex uses a meeting for their parents' group the Pride to reach out to the others, but they turn him down. They later change their minds: Karolina removes her Church of Gibborim bracelet at a party, sees her hands glowing, and loses consciousness—Chase rescues her from being raped; because of this, Chase stands Gert up for a study session, and she picks up her adopted sister Molly who has discovered that she has super strength and that their parents have a creature in the basement; and Nico arrives after failing to contact Amy's spirit in a ritual. The gathering is awkward, but they soon discover a secret passage in the house that leads to their parents sacrificing Destiny in a ritual. Molly's camera flash is seen by the parents.|
|2||"Rewind"||Roxann Dawson||Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage||November 21, 2017|
|Before the ritual, Geoffrey Wilder had confronted an old associate from his time as a criminal, threatening him against interfering with the Pride's construction project; Victor Stein was having issues testing the container used in the ritual; Leslie Dean convinced Destiny not to leave the Church of Gibborim until she reaches the stage of "Ultra", which involves the then upcoming secret ritual; her husband Frank, an actor who is not a member of the Pride, lost his agent due to his role as the co-founder of the Church. The group are all reluctant to sacrifice someone the same age as their children, but go ahead anyway. When they see the flash, they race to investigate, but are convinced by the children that there was an electrical problem in the house. Geoffrey later finds Molly's hairpin outside the entrance to the secret passage, while Victor realizes that his container malfunctioned and Destiny is still alive inside it. Meanwhile, Frank unsuccessfully attempts to enter Leslie's private study, where a decrepit figure lies on another of Victor's containers.|
|3||"Destiny"||Nina Lopez-Corrado||Kalinda Vazquez||November 21, 2017|
|Karolina is told that Destiny is officially in London for a Church trip. Nico investigates the Staff of One, but is unable to control its power and calls Alex for help. Chase and Gert use some of Victor's inventions to search for Destiny in the Steins' house, and then discover that the creature in the Yorkes' house is a dinosaur genetically engineered by Gert's parents. Tina and Robert Minoru attempt to deal with their deteriorating marriage, due to Amy's death, but it ends with Robert continuing a secret affair with Janet Stein, and Tina returning home to find Nico and Alex (pretending to be romantically involved to avoid suspicion). Catherine Wilder confronts Molly, but the latter lies that she had been sneaking around to steal alcohol for the other children. Catherine promises to tell Molly about her parents, who died in a fire when Molly was young (members of the Pride blamed each other for doing this). The Yorkes plan to move with Gert, Molly, and their dinosaur to a remote ranch in Yucatan now that the Pride is over, but then Destiny's body is found.|
|4||"Fifteen"||Ramsey Nickell||Tamara Becher-Wilkinson||November 28, 2017|
|The Pride holds an emergency meeting, though the Yorkes are out searching for their missing dinosaur. Victor accepts responsibility for the failed sacrifice; he and Robert go to find a new one. They attempt to kidnap a homeless man, but they bungle the act and are arrested. Karolina is shunned at school as a slut, and Chase is told to apologize to his lacrosse teammates who he injured when he stopped them from raping her. He instead quits the team. Karolina reveals to Chase how her body glows without her bracelet. She and Gert also look for proof of their parents' innocence, but with Alex's help they realise that Leslie has been selecting people from her church to sacrifice for years. This does not include Amy, who appeared to commit suicide but Nico believes was murdered by the Pride. She goes to the police, but leaves when she sees Victor and Robert talking with a policeman apparently on their payroll. The Yorkes find the dinosaur, doing what Gert tells her to do, and are then threatened by Tina who knows about Yucatan. Alex is kidnapped.|
|5||"Kingdom"||Jeffrey W. Byrd||Rodney Barnes & Michael Vukadinovich||December 5, 2017|
|In flashback, Geoffrey makes a deal with the mysterious Jonah to buy up land and has to convince his cellmate Darius to take the blame for shooting someone to get out of prison. In the present, Darius has kidnapped Alex as ransom for Geoffrey to pay one million dollars. Nico gets Karolina, Gert, Molly and Chase to come to the rescue, using the staff to find Alex. Geoffrey shows up with LAPD to take out Darius and his men, Alex shoots Andre, one of Darius' goons, but he gets taken again. Alex's friends show up and using their newfound abilities cause Darius to run. Alex makes it back to Geoffrey who tells him to go home while he preps Andre for a sacrifice. The kids all barge into the secret room only to realize that the Pride has moved the sacrifice somewhere else. Tina reveals that she knows Nico used the staff, but allows her to use it and Victor's time machine shows Los Angeles crumbling in the future. Frank fails going Ultra and the sacrifice works revealing that the man the Pride was reviving is Jonah who demands to see Karolina.|
|6||"Metamorphosis"||Patrick Norris||Kalinda Vazquez||December 12, 2017|
|Jonah has all the parents recorded during their first sacrifice so as to keep them in check and to prevent them from leaving the Pride. The Pride hosts their annual gala and the kids use the time to download footage of the previous sacrifices from the Minoru's servers. Gert deduces that Karolina is lesbian, but she gets mad at her for not being honest with Chase. While drunk on the roof, Karolina discovers she can fly and Chase kisses her which she is placid to. Alex and Nico break into Tina's office to get the footage causing Nico to become suspicious of him as he knew the password rather easily. During the Pride members speech, Victor reveals his knowledge of Robert and Janet's tryst and collapses from his brain tumor. Jonah uses his experimental medicine to revive him, making him happily euphoric with his family. Frank appears to know about Leslie and Jonah's secret relationship, but keeps this information to himself. Molly, in an effort to know more about her parents, accidentally lets slip to Catherine about her knowledge of the Pride.|
|7||"Refraction"||Peter Hoar||Quinton Peeples||December 19, 2017|
|Victor sees a message from Chase from the future telling him not to pick up the fistigons. Frank gets healing gloves from Jonah causing Leslie to become suspicious. Molly becomes distant from the others and tries joining the cheerleaders who disregard her and finds solace with Karolina. Dale and Stacy discover that Jonah's cure makes people hyperactive and euphoric, but gives them a drawn hangover. At the open house, Leslie gets Janet to break up with Robert who agrees due to Victor's changing behavior and has Tina take Robert back. Geoffrey and Catherine tell Dale and Stacy that they must do something about Molly as she knows about the Pride's activities. They tell Molly she is going to be sent away which angers her and Gert comforts her. Frank discovers that Jonah has been living for a long time and finally confronts Leslie about what she and Jonah have been doing. Nico forces Alex to reveal how he knew Tina's password. Victor suddenly becomes violent again and attacks his son with the fistigons only to get shot by Janet.|
|8||"Tsunami"||Millicent Shelton||Rodney Barnes & Michael Vukadinovich||December 26, 2017|
|Victor bleeds out as the Pride members arrive to try and patch him up, though this proves to be inefficient. Leslie has Frank arrive to use his healing gloves, but it sends Victor into a coma. Tina contacts Jonah who instructs them to have Janet be sacrificed for Victor causing the Pride to argue. Robert decides to sacrifice himself instead, but Tina destroys the pod reaffirming her devotion to him. Victor is carried away to be revived later. Karolina decides to tell Frank everything she knows about Pride, getting him to her side. Alex reveals to an angry Nico that he was aware of Amy's snooping and was told to keep her information secret. Molly is living with her relative, Graciela, who gives Molly a letter containing a key. It leads her to a locker that holds a VHS tape. Nico finds Amy's things and Alex successfully gets the footage of their parents, but his laptop is destroyed by a sympathetic Chase. In flashback, Amy learns from Alex that her laptop was hacked and confides her findings to Kincaid. Upon "him" finding out, Amy tries to run away from home, but is caught.|
|9||"Doomsday"||Jeremy Webb||Jiehae Park & Kendall Rogers||January 2, 2018|
|Ten years prior, Leslie murders Gene and Alice Hernandez with a bomb while Tina listens on the phone. Molly survives due to strange glowing rocks giving her powers. In the present, Janet covers for Victor's absence to the public as Jonah tasks the remaining Pride members with his current plan; to use Geoffrey's drilling company to dig a hole underneath Los Angeles. Darius monitors the area and voices his suspicions to his wife. Molly returns to the group with the VHS tape which contains a video from her parents warning her about the Pride's activities. The kids decide to use the school dance as a cover to infiltrate the drilling site. Before leaving, Gert and Chase have sex while Karolina kisses Nico, revealing her feelings to her. Frank reveals everything he knows to Jonah who relays the fact that the kids know everything to their parents. The kids arrive at the drilling site and manage to stop the drill. The Pride arrive to confront their kids who have all decided to finally take a stand. The kids reveal their powers and the Pride is shocked.|
|10||"Hostile"||Marc Jobst||Quinton Peeples||January 9, 2018|
|Karolina is kidnapped by Jonah while the rest of the Runaways hide. They make it to the woods outside L.A. and Gert is forced to let her dinosaur, now named Old Lace, go. Finding new disguises, Chase and Molly sneak into the Church of Gibborim to rescue Karolina while Alex waits outside and overhears his parents announcing their intent to find him by themselves. Leslie and the Yorkes discover that Jonah is digging for something that is "alive". Leslie reveals that she was indirectly responsible for Amy's death and that she is unsure of Frank's loyalty. She manages to convince the Yorkes, the Minorus and Janet to join with her in killing Jonah. Alex makes a deal with Darius by telling him everything about the Pride. In return, Darius gives Alex hundreds of dollars for him and his friends and a gun. Jonah plans his next move with Frank over Victor's body and reveals that he needs another sacrifice. The Runaways make it to a bus stop and are reunited with Old Lace, but are forced to run upon seeing that they have been framed for Destiny's murder.|
Brian K. Vaughan was hired to write a screenplay for Marvel Studios in May 2008, based on his Runaways. In April 2010, Marvel hired Peter Sollett to direct the film, and a month later Drew Pearce signed on to write a new script. Development on the film was put on hold the following October, and Pearce explained in September 2013 that the Runaways film had been shelved due to the success of The Avengers; the earliest the film could be made was for Phase Three of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In October 2014, after announcing Marvel's Phase Three films without Runaways, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said the project was "still an awesome script that exists in our script vault…. In our television and future film discussions, it's always one that we talk about, because we have a solid draft there. [But] we can't make them all."
Marvel Television, based at ABC Studios, was waiting for the right showrunner before moving forward with a television take on the characters. Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, whose company Fake Empire Productions had an overall deal with ABC, independently brought up the property during a general meeting with the studio, and, by August 2016, the pair had spent a year conversing with Marvel about turning Runaways into a television series. That month, Marvel's Runaways was announced from Marvel Television, ABC Signature Studios, and Fake Empire Productions, with the streaming service Hulu ordering a pilot episode and scripts for a full season. Hulu was believed to already have "an eye toward a full-season greenlight." Executive producer Jeph Loeb felt "it was an easy decision" to have Hulu air the series over the other networks Marvel Television works with, because "We were very excited about the possibility of joining a network that was young and growing in the same way that when we went to Netflix when it was young and growing on the original side. It really feels like we’re in the right place at the right time with the right show." Loeb and Marvel Television were also impressed by the success of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, which helped further justify the decision. Schwartz and Savage wrote the pilot, and serve as showrunners on the series, as well as executive producers alongside Loeb and Jim Chory. In May 2017, Runaways received a 10-episode series order from Hulu at their annual advertising upfront presentation.
Fake Empire's Lis Rowinski produces the series, and Vaughan serves as an executive consultant. On this, Vaughan noted he "did a little consulting early in the process," but felt the series "found the ideal 'foster parents' in Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage … [who] lovingly adapted [the comics] into a stylish drama that feels like contemporary Los Angeles." He also praised the cast, crew and writers working on the series, and felt the pilot looked "like an Adrian Alphona comic", referring to the artist who worked with Vaughan when he created the characters. Loeb said that it had been Schwartz and Savage who had asked that Vaughan be involved, and said that this was something that "a lot of showrunners don’t immediately gravitate towards." In discussions with Vaughan, Marvel found that he "really wanted to be involved and make sure that it was done, not just properly, but in a way that it would last 100 episodes." On January 8, 2018, Hulu renewed the series for a 13-episode second season.
Schwartz was a fan of the Runaways comic for some time, and introduced it to Savage, saying, "When you’re a teenager, everything feels like life and death, and the stakes in this story—really felt like that." Loeb described the series as The O.C. of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), which Schwartz said meant "treating the problems of teenagers as if they are adults" and having the series "feel true and authentic to the teenage experience, even in this heightened context". Loeb noted that it would deal with modern political issues by saying, "This is a time when figures of authority are in question, and this is a story where teenagers are at that age where they see their parents as fallible and human. Just because someone is in charge, doesn’t mean that they’re here to do good." The producers did note that the series would explore the parents' perspective as well, with the pilot telling the story from the Runaways' perspective, and the second episode showing the same story from their parents, the Pride's perspective, with the two stories converging midway through the first season.
Schwartz likened the tone of Runaways to that of the comics it was based on, calling it "so distinct", saying much of the tone Vaughn used when writing the comics overlapped with the tones Schwartz and Savage like to work in. The pair were excited by the freedom given to them by Hulu over the usual broadcasters they were used to working with, such as allowing the children to swear in the show, not having set lengths for each episode, and being able to explore the parents' story; Hulu wanted "something that felt broad and where we could push the envelope in places". Schwartz described the series as a coming-of-age story and a family drama, with focus on the characters that can lead to long stretches of the series not featuring super powers, so "if you didn’t see the show title, you wouldn’t know that you were in a Marvel show for long stretches ... That was our aesthetic starting place, but there are episodes where there’s some good [Marvel] stuff."
In February 2017, Marvel announced the casting of the Runaways, with Rhenzy Feliz as Alex Wilder, Lyrica Okano as Nico Minoru, Virginia Gardner as Karolina Dean, Ariela Barer as Gert Yorkes, Gregg Sulkin as Chase Stein, and Allegra Acosta as Molly Hernandez. Shortly after, Marvel announced the casting of the Pride, with Ryan Sands as Geoffrey Wilder, Angel Parker as Catherine Wilder, Brittany Ishibashi as Tina Minoru, James Yaegashi as Robert Minoru, Kevin Weisman as Dale Yorkes, Brigid Brannagh as Stacey Yorkes, Annie Wersching as Leslie Dean, Kip Pardue as Frank Dean, James Marsters as Victor Stein, and Ever Carradine as Janet Stein. Loeb praised casting director Patrick Rush, explaining that all of the series regulars for Runaways were the producers' first choice for the role. The majority of the children are portrayed by "fresh faces", which was an intentional choice.
Filming on the pilot began by February 10, 2017, in Los Angeles, under the working title Rugrats, and concluded on March 3. Director Brett Morgen was given free rein by Marvel and Hulu to establish the look of the series, and wanted to create a feel that was "very grounded and authentic". He also looked to differentiate between the hand-held, gritty world of the Runaways and the more stylistic world of the Pride. He felt the latter could be explored more in the series moving forward, but was not available to direct any more episodes of the season. Following completion of the pilot and the show's pick-up to series, there was concern among the cast and crew that the impending writers' strike would prevent the series to move forward. However, the strike did not happen, and filming on the rest of the season began at the end of June, again in Los Angeles. Production on the season had concluded by October 21.
In May 2017, Siddhartha Khosla was hired to compose the music for the series. Khosla said that, due to his history as a songwriter, his scoring process involves "working on these song-stories and weaving them through different episodes". He described the Runaways score as being "completely synthesized", utilizing analog synthesizers from the 1980s, specifically the Roland Juno-60 and Oberheim Electronics' synths. Khosla compared the "alternative feel" of his score to Depeche Mode, adding "There is an element of rebellion, so sonically going for something that is a little bit outside the box, non-traditional, I felt was an appropriate approach. I feel like I’m making art on this show." Alex Patsavas serves as music supervisor, having done so on all of Schwartz and Savage's previous series. On January 12, 2018, a soundtrack from the first season consisting of 12 licensed tracks plus two by Khosla, was released digitally. Additionally, Khosla's original score for the series will be released digitally on January 26.
|Runaways (Original Soundtrack)|
|1.||"Runaways Theme"||Siddhartha Khosla||1:13|
|2.||"May I Have This Dance"||Francis and the Lights||2:53|
|3.||"Cane Shuga"||Glass Animals||3:17|
|6.||"Ocean Eyes (Blackbear Remix)"||Billie Eilish||3:14|
|7.||"Beat Goes On"||Lizzy Land||3:40|
|8.||"All My Heroes"||Bleachers||3:03|
|9.||"Antidote (Live Arrangement)"||Emily Wells||5:43|
|10.||"Fuerza (feat. Nani Castle)"||Tony Quattro||3:40|
|11.||"Beyond a Mortal"||Austra||5:45|
|13.||"Blanket Me"||Hundred Waters||4:56|
|14.||"Gert's Lullaby"||Siddhartha Khosla & Ariela Barer||2:19|
Loeb confirmed in July 2017 that the series would be set in the MCU, but that the show's characters would not be concerned with the actions of the Avengers, for example, saying, "Would you be following Iron Man [on social media] or would you be following someone your own age? The fact that they’ve found each other and they’re going through this mystery together at the moment is what we’re concerned about, not what Captain America is doing." The showrunners considered the series' connection to the MCU to be "liberating", as it allowed them to set the series in a universe where superheroics and fantasy are already established and do not need to be explained to the audience. Schwartz said they "were very capable of telling the story that we wanted to tell independent of any of the other Marvel stories that are out there." Loeb added that there were no plans to crossover across networks with the similarly themed Marvel's Cloak & Dagger on Freeform and Marvel's New Warriors, as Marvel wanted the series to find its footing before further connecting with other elements of the universe, though "You'll see things that comment on each other; we try to touch base wherever we can... things that are happening in L.A. are not exactly going to be affecting what's happening in New Orleans [where Cloak & Dagger is set]... It's being aware of it and trying to find a way [to connect] that makes sense."
Runaways premiered its first three episodes on Hulu in the United States on November 21, 2017, with the first season consisting of 10 episodes. The series aired Showcase in Canada, premiering on November 22. Runaways concluded its first season on January 9, 2018.
Cast members and Schwartz and Savage appeared at New York Comic Con 2017 to promote the series, where a trailer for the series was revealed, along with a screening of the first episode. The series had its red carpet premiere at the Regency Bruin Theatre in Westwood, Los Angeles on November 16, 2017.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 83% approval rating with an average rating of 7.63/10 based on 52 reviews. The website's consensus reads, "Earnest, fun, and more balanced than its source material, Runaways finds strong footing in an over-saturated genre." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 68 out of 100 based on 22 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Reviewing the first two episodes of the series, Joseph Schmidt of ComicBook.com praised the show for its faithfulness to the comics, but also for some of the changes it made, appreciating the increased focus on the parents. He thought the cast portraying the Runaways was "pretty spot on", but "many of the parents are scene stealers", highlighting the performances of Marsters, Wersching, and Pardue.