Interview with the Producers of Marvel’s Runaways

During a recent visit to the set of Marvel’s Runaways, With An Accent sat down with the producers to learn some of the secrets of the upcoming season and hear about the journey to actually making the show for Hulu. To the first point, producer Jeph Loeb admitted that the story had always been one of the top three or five most in-demand series, but it was always a matter of finding the right show runners. Which they seem to have done with Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage. “We had sort of privately referred to the show as The O.C. of the Marvel universe,” Loeb revealed. “And then one day we had a meeting with Josh and Stephanie… We all sat there with a deck of cards, and they all said Runaways on them.”

The kids are not alright.

Turns out Schwartz had been a longtime fan of Brian K. Vaughn’s comic, and he got his partner Savage on board with a long-form adaptation quite easily. “Stephanie also needed to love it deeply, and luckily when I handed it to her, she read it, and did.” Savage agreed, gushing that even though she isn’t a comics person by nature, “I really fell in love with this particular property and Brian’s writing… The strong female characters, and the diversity, and the great cliffhangers at the end of every issue.”

Schwartz and Savage were so used to writing teen shows “where the stakes felt like they were life and death” (namely The O.C. and Gossip Girl), so they were excited to tackle the challenge of a teen show where the stakes really were life and death. According to Schwartz, they were so excited that, “We wrote it on spec. We had a whole 30 page bible of where the season was going to go.” Loeb was impressed with their vision for Runaways and, furthermore, felt that it was right at home on Hulu. “It was also a property that they had had their eyes on, because [Hulu] sort of felt that it spoke to their audience,” he explained. Not only because their viewership skews young, but because in Schwartz and Savage’s interpretation of the material, “the adults have a very strong point of view.”

Schwartz also discussed how being on Hulu meant taking their time with characters, as opposed to diving headfirst into the plot. “Aside from getting to swear, there was also patience with storytelling. You can put characters first and so that was a really exciting opportunity, too, to be able to dive in and take that first volume of the book that everybody fell in love with, and really open it up and live inside of that.”

One of the ways they delved more deeply into the characters was by having the second episode of Runaways repeat the plot of the first, but this time through the point of view of the parents. When asked about that decision, the producers confirmed that they did it in order to introduce the world a little better – a choice that pays off after you watch both episodes. But going forward, the series will be more even-handed. “There’s certain episodes that might focus more on one family or one storyline,” Savage said. “But that’s again a part of the fun of the show, writing it and hopefully watching it, that you don’t necessarily know at the beginning of the episode how it will be weighted.”

Thankfully, Vaughn himself came by for lunch to discuss the show, and wound up staying for a month. “He was really supportive,” said Schwartz. “And he would talk about why they made certain decisions they made.” With the creator’s stamp of approval, it sounds like the newest Marvel series is on the right track to delight old fans and newcomers alike.

The first three episodes of Marvel’s Runaways will premiere on November 21st.