Runaways (TV series)

Last updated on 22 October 2017

Marvel's Runaways, or simply Runaways, is an upcoming 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 Ryan Sands, Angel Parker, Brittany Ishibashi, James Yaegashi, Kevin Weisman, Brigid Brannagh, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, James Marsters, and Ever Carradine. 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 series, consisting of 10 episodes, will premiere on November 21, 2017.

Runaways logo.jpg
Runaways logo.jpg

Premise

Six teenagers from different backgrounds unite against a common enemy — their criminal parents,[1] collectively known as the Pride.[2]

Cast

Main

Runaways

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."[6]

The Pride
  • Ryan Sands as Geoffrey Wilder: Alex's father and a self-made business man who had a grueling path to his success.[2]
  • Angel Parker as Catherine Wilder: Alex's mother and a successful lawyer.[2]
  • Brittany Ishibashi as Tina Minoru:
    Nico's mother who is a brilliant innovator, ruthless CEO, and perfectionist "tiger mom".[2] The character previously appeared in the film Doctor Strange, in a minor role as a Master of the Mystic Arts, portrayed by Linda Louise Duan.[7][8][9] The producers felt free to recast the role and create a different version of Tina Minoru since Duan was not named as the character in the film.[10]
  • James Yaegashi as Robert Minoru: Nico's father.[2]
  • Kevin Weisman as Dale Yorkes: Gert's father and a bioengineer.[2]
  • Brigid Brannagh as Stacey Yorkes: Gert's mother and a bioengineer.[2]
  • Annie Wersching as Leslie Dean: Karolina's mother and one of the leaders of the cult-like religious group the Church of Gibborim.[2][11]
  • Kip Pardue as Frank Dean: Karolina's father, a former teen star who is struggling in his professional acting career, who is one of the leaders of the Church of Gibborim.[2][11]
  • James Marsters as Victor Stein: Chase's father and an engineering genius.[2]
  • Ever Carradine as Janet Stein: Chase's mother who has a brilliant mind and is "a perfect PTA mom".[2]

Guest

  • Julian McMahon as Jonah: Someone who helps the Runaways rebel against their parents.[12]

Episodes

No. Title Directed by Written by Original release date
1 "Reunion"[13] Brett Morgen[14] Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage[1] November 21, 2017 (2017-11-21)[15]
2 "Rewind"[13] TBA TBA November 21, 2017 (2017-11-21)[16]

Tamara Becher serves as a writer for the series, after previously working on Iron Fist.[17]

Production

Development

Brian K. Vaughan was hired to write a screenplay for Marvel Studios in May 2008, based on his comic creation the Runaways.[18] In April 2010, Marvel hired Peter Sollett to direct the film,[19] and a month later Drew Pearce signed on to write a new script.[20] Development on the film was put on hold the following October,[21] 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.[22] 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."[23]

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,[24][1] 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."[1][25] 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.[16] Schwartz and Savage wrote the pilot, and serve as showrunners on the series, as well as executive producers alongside Loeb and Jim Chory. Fake Empire's Lis Rowinski produces the series,[1][25] and Vaughan serves as an executive consultant.[3] 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", the artist who worked with Vaughan when he created the characters.[26] In May 2017, Runaways received a 10-episode series order from Hulu at their annual advertising upfront presentation.[27]

Writing

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),[24] 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".[10] 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."[24] 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.[28] 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 Schwatz and Savage like to work in.[10]

Casting

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.[3] 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.[2]

Filming

Filming on the pilot began by February 10, 2017,[29] in Los Angeles,[30] under the working title Rugrats,[31] and concluded on March 3.[32] There was concern among the cast and crew that the impending writers' strike would prevent the series to move forward, but the strike did not happen, and filming on the rest of the season began at the end of June, again in Los Angeles.[5] Production on the season had concluded by October 21.[33]

Music

In May 2017, Siddhartha Khosla was hired to compose the music for the series.[34] 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",[35] 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."[36] Alex Patsavas serves as music supervisor, having done so on all of Schwartz and Savage's previous series.[10]

Marvel Cinematic Universe tie-ins

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.[37] 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."[10] Loeb added that there were no plans to crossover across networks with the similarly themed Marvel's Cloak & Dagger and Marvel's New Warriors on Freeform, 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."[28]

Release

Runaways is scheduled to premiere on Hulu in the United States on November 21, 2017, with the series consisting of 10 episodes.[15] The series will air on Showcase in Canada, premiering on November 26.[38]

Marketing

Cast members and Schwartz and Savage appeared at New York Comic Con 2017 to promote the series,[39] where a trailer for the series was revealed, along with a screening of the first episode.[40]

Reception

Critical response

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.[41]

Analysis

Clara Pits of Moviepilot felt "bringing radical faith into [Karolina's] narrative turns [her] into a clichéd, exhausted trope that her character never was" and "treats her attraction to women as an act of rebellion" against her parents, rather than "an inspiring story of self-discovery over time" as it was in the comics. She also felt that having the reveal of Karolina's powers centered around an attempted sexual assault "robbed [the character] of this important and beautiful experience" and the moment became "a heroic arc for Chase, which ignores the original intent of telling Karolina's story."[11]

References

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