TCA 17: ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ and Adolescence in the MCU

You know you wondered at some point in your childhood if you weren’t just being a melodramatic child/tween/teenager, what if your parents really were evil? That is the premise of Marvel’s Runaways, the latest series from Marvel Television (this time on Hulu), based on one of their comic book series. Because no, there can never be enough superhero television/film (I’m not being sarcastic. GIVE ME ALL OF IT).

While the Guardians of the Galaxy deal with threats in the cosmic realm, and The Avengers deal with global threats, The Runaways bring a new viewpoint to the Marvel Cinematic Universe; adolescence.

Yes, it’s the MCU, so #ItsAllConnected, but there is a disconnect here. “I think it much more lives in a world of if you’re a teenager, it’s all connected through social media, and it’s all connected in its own way,” says Executive Producer, Jeph Loeb.  “Would you be following Iron Man, or would you be following somebody that was more your age? And so the fact that they have found each other and are going through this mystery together is what they’re concerned about at the moment, not what Captain America is doing on Friday.” 

Adds Allegra Costra, who plays Molly Hernandez, “It was a follow-up that’s more relatable for every kid, because — in the comic book, as you read them, we’re all completely different characteristics of characters, and we have different climaxes throughout the story. So I think it’s more relatable. You have me, a 14 year-old, and then you have someone who’s angsty and a jock.”

Schwartz adds, “The great thing about working in this sort of coming of age story and teen drama, is that when you’re a teenager, everything feels like it’s life and death stakes. And in this story, it actually is.”

“As much as we were putting a teen drama story through the Marvel prism,” adds Stephanie Savage, Showrunner, “We were taking a Marvel show and putting it through a teen drama prism, and making sure that the emotion felt grounded. And then even when the characters were in extremely heightened situations, they still had real-world reactions to things, and that the emotion and the dynamics always felt true.

A young cast allows for a new perspective on the Superhero story as well. Namely, a young group who discover their powers at a young age, and where those powers come from. “There are changes that they are going through,” explains Loeb. “Some in spectacular fashion, some in much more subtle fashion. I think that’s one of the things that Brian (K. Vaughn), and Josh, and Stephanie embraced very well. And the secrets the parents hold are the things that they get to uncover. And as things are happening to them, they have to ask the question, which is, “Who else is like me? And did this come from something that my parents did?” Or “Are my parents hiding something else from me? So those are all really good questions for us to be able to discover over the show.”

Marvel’s Runaways premieres on Hulu on 21st November, 2017.