Drew Pearce Compares Tone of Marvel’s ‘Runaways’ To ‘Godfather’

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Marvel Runaways Movie Update Drew Pearce Compares Tone of Marvels Runaways To Godfather

After Iron Man 2 hit theaters in 2010, every year following was planned to feature two theatrical releases per year by Marvel Studios. It began with Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor in 2011, and in 2012 we were going to see The Avengers and Runaways. The latter of course, was set to begin shooting in early 2011 but ended up not happening as Marvel – still an incredibly young production house – focused all of its resources on their flagship, brand-defining team-up project. Runaways was essentially canceled despite having a script they love and a director in Peter Sollett (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist) although there is still hope the indefinitely-postponed project can become a reality on Marvel’s upcoming release slate.

According to writer Drew Pearce who wrote the Runaways screenplay based on the Brian K. Vaughan Marvel Comics series (that Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon also wrote a few issues for), a film is really the only format the project can work in. When I spoke with Pearce a few weeks ago about his Marvel One-Shot, All Hail The King - releasing alongside the Thor: The Dark World Blu-ray – we caught up on where Runaways currently sits and what he’d like to see from the project.

Fortunately for Pearce, his passion, writing skill and knowledge of Marvel lore made him a valuable part of the Marvel Studios family and producer/president of production Kevin Feige enlisted him to help Shane Black write Iron Man 3, which currently sits as the fifth highest grossing film of all-time. Over the years, Pearce has remained hopeful that Runaways could happen after The Avengers and since we know all of the studio’s Phase 2 films, that wasn’t the case.

As for Phase 3, we’ll find out what projects Marvel has in mind come Comic-Con this summer, but it doesn’t seem as if Runaways fits the bill for what they’re looking for in building towards their major event films in The Avengers sequels. Can Runaways happen soon?

Drew Pearce: “Oh I wish there was an update! No, as it stands at the moment it’s still a script that Kevin, I believe, feels very fondly about. Whether it has a place on the runway of Phase 3 I genuinely don’t know. I wish I could say something more concrete. It’s definitely on a pile, where in the pile it is top to bottom I genuinely don’t know, but it’s a movie that’d I love to see come to fruition. It would be an extremely fresh and original point of view through which to explore the MCU. I really hope someday it happens.”

Drew Pearce Official Photo Disney Marvel Studios Iron Man 3 UK Screening Drew Pearce Compares Tone of Marvels Runaways To Godfather

Does it have any chance of it maybe coming to TV or showing up in another Marvel One-Shot?

“Who knows maybe, I think it’s very tricky to do a One-Shot of it because the toughest part of making Runaways is casting the under-twenties and getting it right, and that’s going to take some time and you’d never have the resources to do that for a One-Shot.

They’ve been talking for TV but my worry about it for TV, and again this is probably above my pay grade too, is that the fact that they are kids predicates a kiddier tone for the show. And I’ve said it a couple of times before but in a ridiculous and grandiose way my model for the tone of the Runaways was always the Godfather rather than a family show. This is about a crime syndicate, truly powerful from the get-go, a deadly crime syndicate, and the realization of a bunch of kids that their parents not only are fallible but are borderline or truly evil. And the idea of being drawn into that is of course integral to the first arch of the Runaway story which BKV so brilliantly mapped out. So that was always weirdly my touchstone. I think it would be very hard – I don’t know because I don’t know the people who work at ABC Family or whatever – but I think it would be tough to walk in there and go ‘I want to make the Godfather.’”

Iron Man 3 Writer Talks Runaways Drew Pearce Compares Tone of Marvels Runaways To Godfather

Marvel Runaways Movie Drew Pearce Drew Pearce Compares Tone of Marvels Runaways To Godfather

Netflix it man! Netflix it!

“Yea maybe. But again, it’s that weird thing, and maybe it’s the reason why the Runaways is a tough thing to make it’s very easy to see and very exciting to see how you go “This is Daredevil, this is a Netflix show.” It’s very hard to go “this is a show with a poster with 6 kids on it who are [affiliated with] Marvel but this is a show essentially for grownups.” So I think that’s the trick of Runaways and I think the key is if you do it as a movie you somehow manage to tap into all those things simultaneously. The great thing about casting it would be though is you’d probably be going slightly more unknown with the teenagers. I love the idea that you just cast the shit out the parents in it. You know, the Denzel Washington Runaways would be a truly magnificent way to approach the property.”

If Runaways has a chance of becoming one of Marvel’s two-films-per-year plan, where so many characters and properties are fighting for a chance at a live-action adaptation, the project will need big stars in supporting roles to help sell it, and we love the idea of the story maintaining an adult tone based on the source material. Would you like to see Marvel Studios give Runaways a chance or is it more important for them (and fans) to get characters like Black Panther and Doctor Strange on the big screen?


Stay Tuned For Our Full Drew Pearce Interview!


All Hail The King releases with Thor: The Dark World on 3D Combo Pack (3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, Digital Copy), Single-Disc Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand February 25, 2014.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, and unannounced films for May 6 2016, July 8 2016 and May 5 2017.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie news!

Follow Rob Keyes on Twitter @rob_keyes
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  1. Is all the Marvel Studio movies going to be compared to the Godfather or at the very least the mob? “Whedon said that he looked to The Empire Strikes Back and The Godfather Part II as inspirations” and Guardians Of The Galaxy Reminds Bradley Cooper Of Goodfellas.

    • when whedon made the godfather reference, i think he meant as he took inspiration on how to set the script. it is a continuation of a movie, but at the same time it kind of stands on its own and it raises the bar. this comparision of runaways to godfather is more like in the tone of the movie. as its a more mature story that revolves more on like he said “a crime syndicate.

      • I very well know what it meant. And my comment still stands. Godfather/mob have come up as INSPIRATION to these films…

  2. I much rather see the full vision on the big screen, but I’ll gladly take a Netflix show that will surely keep that vision seeing as it wouldn’t be syndicated on cable. Also, Marvel Studies makes so much bank in the box office. Shouldn’t they big enough now to afford 3 pictures a year? I’m the sure the Runaways can be done on a $80 – $100M budget unlike some of the other movies that are normally over $200M.

    • While I agree that they should be able to put out 3 movies a year, I’d prefer they stuck with 2. I’m worried that CBM’s will go the way of the western. The market will become oversaturated to the point where people stop supporting them and then studios will move on to something else.

      I like the idea of the Runaways being a Netflix project. Give it a 13 episode run and build the story overtime. Hulu has already shown the format can work with the Misfits.

      • As it is we are already getting 4 marvel movies per year. Captain America 2, Spiderman 2, X-Men 7? and Guardians of the Galaxy

        • Spider Man is Sony, X Men is Fox so no, Marvel Studios will only have 2 films this year, just like the last 3/4 years.

  3. I know the general story of the Runaways. That is the extent of my knowledge. I would love to read their origin for myself and I think that their story would be wonderful on screen, especially the way we are told this script is going. However, I feel that if we want it to have continuity with the other marvel films, we must establish more heroes. Wait for us to get this idea that meta humans are popping up all over the place with the avengers and other franchises, add ant man and other heroes, then hit us with a left hook. A darker film where these kids have to destroy their parents.

  4. I think that if they succeed with the darker tone of Daredevil and Jessica Jones on Netflix then we might see this get a show. I have to add my voice to the chorus of asking them to amp up to 3 pictures a year with two tent pole films, and a smaller film.

    If they went that route the schedule could look something like this:

    CA: Winter Soldier
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    Agents of SHIELD S2 (if it is renewed)
    Agent Carter (if it gets a pilot)
    Guardians of the Galaxy
    Two one-shots for their dvd releases

    Avengers: Age of Ultron
    AKA Jessica Jones
    Two more one-shots and the back ends of Agent Carter and Agents of SHIELD

    Thor: Twilight of the Gods
    Luke Cage
    Iron Fist
    Doctor Strange
    two more one shots, subsequent seasons of shows which could include Jessica Jones, Daredevil and both Agent shows
    AND throw in a smaller budget Black Widow movie.

    Defenders Mini-Series
    Captain America: Fallen Son
    Captain Marvel
    Two more one shots
    The Runaways as the lower budget entry

    The Avengers: Infinity War
    subsequent seasons of each show that has been renewed
    two more one shots
    And then another title which can be done for lower budget such as something based on Fraction’s Hawkeye which could be done like a buddy cop/action movie starring Jeremy Renner and take someone like Ksenia Solo as Kate Bishop.

    2019 and beyond would likely see sequels to the tentpoles like Ant-Man and Dr. Strange, follow up seasons for shows and likely sequels for Captain Marvel and finally a Black Panther film.

    If they went by this method we’d get 3 movies, 2 to 5 seasons of their shows, and 2 one shots every year. And they can avoid stagnation because you can let each franchise end as a trilogy. 3 iron mans, 3 thors, 3 caps, and then you’d end up with a solo film for each of the original avengers and could easily give scarlet witch and quicksilver cameos elsewhere and a one shot.

    • I love how you’ve clearly thought this all out very carefully. And although I would love to see this all happen, everything depends on the success of each property. We’d have to wait and see how the Netflix shows pan out, but I don’t have much faith in the AoS series anymore. Otherwise, it would be unlikely for Marvel to push out a third smaller budget movie every year.

      • I think a lot of people’s issues with AoS is that it just doesn’t stand up to the same level of scrutiny as the movies but I love it. It isn’t showtime/HBO/FX/Netflix quality but thats ok.

        As for it’s renewal, it’s a pretty sure thing. Yes the ratings aren’t great but given the time slot it actually does better then most shows. And the actual content of the show has taken a drastic upswing and the first half has rewatch value in light of the reveals that come later.

        It actually is no worse then Buffy was in season 1 (or even Season 2, remember that Vampire kid?) and I would hate for it to end up cancelled. I think it would drastically benefit from a shorter season which would alleviate a lot of the issues.

    • If Marvel can film all of their movies in 4 month time frames, 3 movies in 12 months should be possible, if they elect to film multiple moves at once (i.e. Lord of the Rings) then it is very workable. Not sure if Runaways is the right property due for a release, since Marvel has so many superior properties yet to be released.

    • If I’m correct in assuming, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist miniseries all air in 2015. They’ll release all episodes in one day, like House of Cards Season 2. I’m not saying they’ll release all episodes of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist on the same day. Maybe, release Daredevil series, wait awhile, and then Jessica Jones, wait awhile, Luke Cage, etc.

      With The Defenders miniseries coming in early 2016. I believe that was stated in the article, or that is the rumored plan. I don’t know. Wouldn’t make sense though if Marvel prolonged it over a year.

    • Come on now, 2019 to get to the Black Panther. That’s real crazy. You would take the Runaways over him? That is your choose about the order. What makes the Marvel Heroes to me better then the DC heroes? The human factor in them. Look at the Justice league. All of fhem will be superhumans except Batman. The Avengers you have only one that cannot be killed. Thor would be harder to kill, but the death of his mom says he is Killable. So lets stick with the plan. And hopefully Marvel will start putting out 3 s year.

  5. Not to mention a lower budget runaways flick would add much needed diversity to the MCU (the team consists of several people of color, a lesbian and a gender fluid alien). My concern is how do you do a dinosaur on a budget and make it stand up to the HULK.

  6. I think the thing to do if possible would be to continue their current model and somehow get outside financial backers in to get this off the ground so it won’t eat into the budgets for other Marvel Studios movies or TV projects.

    I guess in a similar way to Michael Fassbender’s involvement in the Assassin’s Creed movie or something like that.

  7. If anything, I’d rather see New Warriors than Runaways bcuz then they can tie in Guardians of the Galaxy with Nova.

  8. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – make “Runaways” an animated cinematic movie for a more mature audience. Or an animated series for a more mature audience.

    That way, all Marvel properties – mutants, super-soldiers and the Webhead – can appear with little to no legal issues.

    • +1

    • No… if Marvel confirms that Runaways is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (even though it is animated), they wont be able to have Spider-Man or the X-Men in it.

      And even if they did, that would be such an annoying thing for some fans that we can only have a Spider-Man or the X-Men (MCU version) in an animated show and not in a live action. That would be such a let down. Plus, that would raise a lot of questions like, why doesn’t animated Spider-Man and (for example) Wolverine join the live action Avengers? Why didn’t SHIELD know about mutants this whole time? A lot of problems will occur when they try to include non-Marvel owned properties to the animated MCU.

      • Who said anything about making “Runaways” into an MCU-tied movie?

        Neither of the three current animated series are tied to the MCU, nor are the animated movies (Rise of Technovore, Heroes United one and two, the Punisher/Black Widow movie, Big Hero Six), nor is the upcoming anime Marvel Disk Wars: The Avengers. So nothing prevents Marvel from making a more high-quality animated “Runaways” product.

  9. I agree with you ALL THE WAY! Disney produced The Avengers, which should have been as dark as The Dark Knight was in tone, ALIENS WERE ATTACKING EARTH AND IRON MAN COULDN’T STOP CRACKING A JOKE EVERY FIVE MINUTES! NO WAY will they have anything CLOSE to the Godfather.

    • You don’t get to a billion dollars by going into the darkness. Batman had 3 good movies. But the 1 Avengers movie made almost as much money as all 3. And a movie some what kid friendly. Makes it a family movie. And now I can take my kids to see if too. Please notice the s on kids. More butts in the seats means more profit for Disney.

  10. I wonder what the guy that screwed up the Mandarin would do this time. It’s probably a good thing that anything with his name attached to it doesn’t get made, coming from a comic book fan’s perspective at least

    • The Mandarin has not made an appearance in the MCU; therefore, no one has screwed him up.

      • Semantics. They sure as hell screwed up his storyline.

        • I’d argue you haven’t seen The Mandarin OR his story line.

          • Maybe, just maybe, he was the Mandarin. And, he could the light side of the crime. He knew he was dead, if he didn’t have a back plan. I think that Kingsley is really the Mandarin. And the other guy was his puppet.

  11. My guess is that alongside phase three the netflix marvel series starring jessica jones,
    Daredevil,iron fist and luke cage will buildup to avengers 3 to battle thanos. Alongside
    vision,war machine,iron man,antman,falcon,black widow,captain america,hulk,hawkeye,
    Scarlet witch,quicksilver,starlord,groot,gamora,drax,rocket racoon,thor and whoever they muster
    Up in an all out brawl with thanos.

    • Daradevid can really wait. Unless he is bought in on the Avengers 3. There no other places to stick him. The Nexflix thing takes the origin out of the way and allows him to be laced where ever they want when they want i just like the Defenders. Once all the series are done. They will either get a standalone movie or a teamup movie. And the GodFather part was seeing how to make a squel stand by itself, while standing on the first one.

      • Don’t be surprised if you see Ant-Man save IronMan’s life in the next movie. IronMan hits the Hulk with all his power in the suit. That shorts his suit out. AntMan will get into the armor, fight against the safety features of the armor to press the reset button. It must one of my favorite comic books in the 70′s. some version of that will lead into Planet Hulk.

  12. I would love to see a runaways film. I hope they will make it someday

  13. Make the movies that mean the most to Marvel first. I don’t feel that any other movie should be made until they fix the Hulk’s standalone. There are a lot of heroes that should have their own movies. The Runaways might be one that makes a lot of money. But I feel that Hulk has been around long enough for Marvel to finally get a movie right. And maybe just maybe, going to Nexflex is a less money spending way to introduce heroes before bringing them into a teamup movie

  14. Maybe someone can tell me how they can make a cartoon with The Hulk and Wolverine. But can not make a live movie with the same people