Now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become a juggernaut franchise across movies and television, it's able to take more risks with the characters it introduces. On the TV side of things, Netflix has become a haven for the Marvel street-level heroes to shine, and yesterday, it was announced that a Runaways TV series will air on Hulu. The Runaways were created by writer Brian K. Vaughn and artist Adrian Alphona in 2003, and the superhero team's book lasted for six years, becoming a cult classic.
While certain members have appeared on and off, The Runaways as a whole hasn't made any major comic book appearances recently, though an alternate version of the team was seen in the Secret Wars event. However, during the MCU's early years, there were discussions about making a movie centered around them. Those plans were shelved shortly after The Avengers was released, but now the team is finally being introduced to the MCU on the small screen. Before the team makes the jump from the printed page to live action, we've compiled all the important details you need to know about them from the comics. Not to worry, there won't be any major spoilers for those who decide to pick up the reading material afterwards.
The Runaways Come From Villainous Families
A superhero who has a criminal parent or other kind of relative is nothing new, but the Runaways are all children of people from the same evil organization. The original Runaways lineup included Nico Minoru, Alex Wilder, Karolina Dean, Molly Hayes, Chase Stein and Gertrude Yorkes, and very year, they would met one another during their the annual get-together between families. One year, the six teenagers witnessed their parents sacrificing a teenage girl, and later in the series, learned that the adults were members of The Pride, a criminal group comprised of all kinds of weirdos, from aliens to time travelers to magic manipulators.
Disgusted by what they witnessed, the kids ran off to make a life of their own, using their abilities (more on those in a bit) to help others and becoming a "dysfunctional family" of sorts. Unfortunately, their parents considered their illegal activities to be more important than the well-being of their children, so they targeted the Runaways, leading to a conflict between the two generations. The Runaways TV series will likely retain the kids coming from families of criminals, though some elements of their parents nefarious deeds may need to be toned down.
The Runaways' Powers Come From A Variety Of Sources
As mentioned before, The Pride was comprised of a lot of unusual people, and it's from them that The Runaways gained their special powers and technology. Nico, the group's leader, is the daughter of dark wizards, meaning she can conjure magic, primarily through the Staff of One. Karolina is an alien who can flight and manipulate solar energy in her natural form. Molly is a mutant who was born with super strength and invulnerability. Chase told special goggles and gauntlets from his parents; the former grant him X-ray vision and the latter let him produce and manipulate fire. Gertrude as a telepathic link with a dinosaur named Old Lace that her parents picked up in the past. Finally there's Alex, who doesn't have any powers, but is a prodigy who specialized in logic and strategy.
The Runaways TV series should be able to keep the sources of these powers, technology and skills intact for the most part, but there will need to be some adjustments. For instance, since there's no mutants in the MCU, Molly will have to be made an Inhuman or get her powers elsewhere. As for featuring a dinosaur from the past, this world hasn't introduced time traveling yet, so it's possible that dinosaur could be artificially created or turned into a beast that's easier to feature in a TV show. Then again, maybe The Runaways will be the MCU project that finally features time travel in a meaningful way. There's no time like the present! Get it? Time humor. Never mind...
The Runaways Eventually Expanded
For a long time, the six teenagers previously mentioned were the main Runaways team, but three others later joined their ranks. The first was Victor Mancha (seen above), a cyborg whose human DNA from a woman named Marianella Manch was combined with the tech from longtime Avengers foe Ultron. His powers include enhanced strength, controlling technology, shooting electric blasts and more. It was prophesied that he would become a super villain, but he's since proved himself to be a welcome ally. The second addition was Xavin, a member of the Skull alien race. Like other Skrulls, Xavin can shapeshift, but because he was trained as a Super Skrull, that also means he can replace the abilities of the Fantastic Four. Finally, there's Klara Prast, a Swedish girl brought to the present from 1907 who can control plants.
In order to keep things streamlined, it's highly unlikely that that the main Runaways lineup will change in the show's early years. If the series lasts past two seasons, then they can start thinking about the team growing larger. Fortunately, aside from Xavin's Skull background needing to be adjusted, these three youngsters could also fit well into the MCU.
The Runaways Encountered Other Marvel Heroes
The Marvel universe is a small world, especially if you're in the United States. So even though the Runaways are an obscure superhero team, they've had run-ins with other crimefighters over the years. This include Cloak and Dagger (who are getting their own Freeform series), Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man, She-Hulk, Punisher and many more. However, because of the Runaways' fugitive status in the early years, some of these heroes were getting in the teenagers' way rather than fighting alongside them. Due to the one-sided connection between Marvel's movie and TV projects, it's doubtful that any major MCU movie characters will appear on The Runaways, making the TV series more self-contained than the comic book. Perhaps it's for the best, as like Netflix is doing with Daredevil and the other Defenders, The Runaways can carve out its own corner in this world.
The Runaways is scheduled to premiere on Hulu sometime in 2017, so stay tuned to Cinema Blend for all the latest updates surrounding the series.