When it comes to comics, it seems that Brian K. Vaughan can do no wrong – which makes it odd that it’s taken so long for one of his many successful series to finally get an adaptation. While the world is still waiting for an adaptation of Vaughan classics like Ex Machina or Saga and praying that the Y: The Last Man series over on FX actually happens, fans of the prolific author may finally see an adaptation in the form of Marvel’s Runaways, which has just been ordered to series on the streaming platform, Hulu.
The story of a group of teenagers who discover that their parents are actually a league of supervillains, Runaways is still early in the process of development, but it’s never too early to start hoping that Hulu can assemble an all-star cast for their first Marvel adaptation. As fans await more news regarding this long-awaited series, here are 15 Actors We Want To See In Marvel’s Runaways Series On Hulu.
15. Nico Minoru – Hayley Kiyoko
Nico Minoru is one of the de-facto co-leaders of the Runaways alongside Alex Wilder. Nico inherits her power from the mystical Staff of One, which allows her to cast any spell she can conceive within her imagination (but she can only use each spell once). Luckily, Nico proves herself to be a creative and intelligent leader and is almost never at a loss for creative wording or manufacturing the perfect spell for any given situation. Nico’s romantic relationships with other Runaways play a large role throughout the comics, because as smart as Nico is, she can sometimes prove to be selfish when it comes to her emotional needs.
In a film industry that tends to push Asian characters to the sidelines, Runaways’ Nico Minoru is an amazing opportunity for a young Asian actress to make her mark with a breakthrough role, and Hayley Kiyoko may just be the perfect actress to bring Nico to life. Kiyoko, who is of Japanese-American descent just like Nico, has recently been seen filling out the required “quirky tech guru in a crime procedural” role in CSI: Cyber and rocking out in the Jem and the Holograms reboot. Although her experience with the superhero genre is limited, she’s already played one of the greatest female nerd icons ever drawn – Velma Dinkley in the TV-movie Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins. If you’re looking for a Japanese-American actress who can properly portray Nico’s nerdy side as well as her inner romantic, you’re not going to do better than Hayley Kiyoko.
14. Karolina – Kiernan Shipka
Karolina Dean is the daughter of two Hollywood actors…who happen to be aliens that intend to sacrifice humanity to an ancient race of giants determined to turn Earth into a mostly human-free Utopia. Dean, herself, discovers her powers in the same evening that she discovers her parents are literally out of this world. In her alien form, Karolina glows every color in the spectrum of light and can attack foes with blasts of pure solar energy that she harnesses from the sun. As if discovering she is an alien didn’t have her feeling like enough of an outsider, Karolina also struggles with insecurity stemming from her homosexuality while on the run.
While a lot has changed since the character was conceived in 2004 (If Karolina had grown up with Tumblr, she probably would’ve been much more secure in her sexual orientation), Karolina still deserves an actress who knows how to carry the weight of internal conflict with her. Kiernan Shipka got a masterclass in acting over 7 seasons of playing Sally Draper on Mad Men, regularly turning in one of the most consistent and amazing performances by a child actress. Shipka’s fantastic talent and range makes her a perfect fit for the conflicted, yet loving role of Karolina.
13. Molly – Morgan Lily
Molly Hayes is the youngest of the Runaways, discovering the truth about her parents at the ripe young age of 11. Molly is forced to grow up quickly, as she and the other Runaways remove her from the life she’s grown used to and opt instead to go off the grid. Molly’s age may sometimes be a hindrance to the team, but she happens to be the strongest of all the Runaways and possibly stronger than the rest of them combined. Molly’s mutant gene manifests itself in superhuman strength, allowing her to throw Hummers like most folks throw footballs and toss skyscraper-sized monsters onto their backs without effort.
While she’s getting older with every passing year and may be too old to play Molly by the time the series goes to pilot, there’s no choice better for Molly – or more obvious – than Morgan Lily. Morgan Lily is the child actress best known for playing the child version of Mystique in X-Men: First Class. Who better to play a young mutant than someone who already has experience playing a young mutant?
12. Chase – Will Poulter
In any other story, Chase Stein would probably just be a cool jock who comes to terms with the fact that he has to hang out with a bunch of “loser nerds” after they join forces – but Runaways isn’t just any other story. Chase Stein may be a jock in some capacities, but he’s also the member of the Runaways that gets put through the ringer more than anyone else. Even before finding out his parents were mad scientists, his relationship with his abusive father hardened Chase and contributed to his reckless and rebellious attitude. Chase is a broken-down kid with a heart of gold, and on many occasions, he serves as the emotional keystone for some of Runaways’ best story arcs.
Will Poulter is proving himself to be an actor who can adapt to any genre he needs to – be it a slapstick comedy like We’re The Millers or an Oscar-bait drama like The Revenant. While Poulter is busy maintaining a successful film career, there’s no denying he could do some amazing work with the role of Chase in Runaways. While not the typical TV jock, Poulter could convincingly play the fun older-brother side of Chase as well as the broken-down self-destructive side of Chase that reveals itself in its darkest moments.
11. Alex Wilder – Justice Smith
Alex Wilder is an odd duck in the world of Runaways. He’s the only member of the Runaways that didn’t inherit any powers or technology from his parents, and yet he manages to become a de-facto leader of this wayward group of teenagers. Alex makes up for his lack of powers by being a brilliant prodigy, working tirelessly to use his knowledge to outsmart the enemies of the Runaways and determine the truth about their parent’s actions. His love of all things superhero (he’s introduced playing an Avengers MMORPG on his computer) makes him a natural leader, but his complicated relationship with his father lingers despite the knowledge that he’s evil.
Alex is a key character in Runaways, but is also something of an enigma – which means that any actor suited to the role will have to be acting on multiple levels at any given time, showing how Alex’s actions don’t always match his intentions. Justice Smith has been proving his strength as an actor on Netflix’s The Get Down, and his performance as Ezekial isn’t far off from what would be required to play Alex. While it’s unlikely that Smith will jump ship from playing the lead in one show to another, Runaways really needs a strong actor in the role of Alex to succeed, and this 21 year old would be a perfect fit.
10. Gertrude / Heroine – Shannon Purser / Amy Acker
Oh, Gertie. A fan-favorite character in a fan-favorite series, Gertrude Yorke closely resembles several great female snarkers in television history, from Daria to April Ludgate and everyone in between. So what separates her from the litany of other characters that fit the “clever female snarker” archetype? Gertie makes snarky comments while having a psychic connection to a Velociraptor. She retrieved her animal sidekick Old Lace from her evil, time-traveling parents, and she can control the dinosaur with her mind. That’s undeniably awesome.
Actress Shannon Purser already has experience playing an undeniably awesome character in the form of Stranger Things supporting-character-turned-cult-icon Barb. Barb and Gertie actually aren’t all that different, except Gert is more sarcastic and also has a dinosaur for a best friend. As if Gertie wasn’t awesome enough as is, she also shows up later on in the series as a future version of herself who has gone full superhero and adapted the name Heroine, which would be a perfect opportunity for a sci-fi and fantasy television regular (like, say, Amy Acker of Angel and Alias fame) to stop by and give the show some additional nerd credibility.
Purser has been pushing for a different Marvel role in recent weeks, but we think Gertrude Yorke would be a better fit for her.
9. Victor Mancha – Diego Boneta
If Runaways does become a television series, it may be a while before we meet Victor. Victor Mancha is not introduced until the second volume of the series, and as such is not one of the initial group of teenagers who discover they have evil parents – although he still does have an evil parent. While it’s unlikely that Victor will maintain the same origin in the show, Victor is actually a cyborg creation of the maniacal robotic force Ultron (aka the baddie from the second Avengers movie). Victor Mancha eventually joins the Runaways after learning the truth about himself, proving to be a super powerful, but sometimes problematic, ally.
Mexican actor Diego Boneta has been cutting his teeth on campy television fare like Pretty Little Liars and Scream Queens for a few years, but in each of those performances, he’s displayed a depth that could be tapped into to play the team’s resident Cyborg. Boneta’s natural charm could also prove useful, as it serves as a major contrast to the fact that this teenager is supposedly a weapon constructed by one of the greatest forces of evil in the Marvel universe.
8. Xavin – Aeriél Miranda / Maestro Harrell
Xavin is a unique case, as technically any and every actor on Earth could play Xavin at one point or another. This shape-shifting Skrull alien arrives on Earth with the intention of wedding Karolina before joining the team proper, but he initially appears in the form of a human male. In an attempt to satisfy the homosexual Karolina, Xavin effortlessly switches their gender to female for Karolina’s sake. Xavin has been seen taking a multitude of forms, without any indication regarding their “true” gender, or answering if Skrull even have a true gender to begin with. Xavin’s gender fluidity mirrors changing attitudes towards gender and sexuality and helps prove Runaways to be one of the most diverse superhero teams around.
Casting Xavin proves a challenge for any casting director, but young up-and-coming actors Aeriél Miranda and Maestro Harrell could give a strong enough dual performance to ensure that any difficulties adapting Xavin’s character are worth it in the long run. Miranda has proven her ability to play a hardened, conflict-minded character like Xavin on the popular series Pretty Little Liars, and Harrell was on The Wire for a spell, which should be enough to convince any self-respecting television fan that casting him is a good call. If it isn’t, his recurring role on ABC’s Suburgatory should do the trick.
7. Klara Prast – Millie Bobby Brown
Klara Prast was the last addition to the Runaways team before the series’ cancellation. She was also the sole member created by Avengers auteur and all-around nerd genius Joss Whedon, who temporarily helmed the series after Brian K. Vaughan left towards the end of Volume 2. Prast is a plant-controlling mutant from 1907 who returns to the present with the Runaways after spending much of her young life at the whim of an abusive husband. Prast may be young, but she’s been beaten and broken down, and much of her storyline is focused on not only adjusting to the modern world, but adjusting to becoming a healed and happy person.
Millie Bobby Brown blew away everyone who watched Stranger Things with her powerful portrayal of the government experiment, Eleven. Equal parts terrifying and empathetic, Brown’s performance promises great things from the young actress, who’s as capable of delivering the gravitas that Klara Prast requires as any young actress in the industry today. Brown would also be a good fit for the young, rambunctious Molly (we honestly just want to see her on this show, so she can play any character she’d like at this point). An actress like Brown only comes around once in a generation, and Klara Prast is the kind of role that only an actress like Brown could really pull off. If season 2 of her hit Netflix series isn’t standing in the way, this is a call Marvel has to make.
6. Geoffrey Wilder – Courtney B. Vance
The Pride – the supervillain group comprised of the Runaways’ parents – serve as a perfect excuse to cast just about every outstanding character actor that has the free time in their schedule to show up as a menacing parent every now and then. While the entire gang is intimidating, the most goosebump-inducing of them may actually be the least powerful. Geoffrey Wilder, a Los Angeles crime lord, serves as a de facto leader of The Pride, much as his son Alex serves as a de facto leader of the Runaways.
Geoffrey Wilder is an intimidating, larger-than-life figure, so who better to play him than an actor whose most prominent role is portraying a real-life larger-than-life figure? Courtney B. Vance’s portrayal of Johnnie Cochran in American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson brought Vance some much-deserved success and recognition. You’d be hard-pressed to argue that the 56 year old wasn’t the true star of the series; he simply stole every scene he was in. Vance could easily nail the role of the villainous Wilder, balancing a supervillainous bravado with the heart and love that anchors his complicated relationship with Alex.
5. Topher – Ellar Coltrane
Topher is one of many characters introduced to the Runaways that reinforce the fact that the Runaways can only trust themselves – and even then, mileage may vary. Topher makes a very brief appearance in the comics, but serves as an important catalyst for some early character development, as Topher is the first villain that the Runaways are forced to deal with after removing themselves from their parents. A villainous vampire with a taste for teenagers, Topher is a small role, but an important one.
Ellar Coltrane spent over a decade crafting his defining role as Mason Evans, Jr. in the Academy Award-winning Boyhood, so he would probably appreciate a sightly less demanding role. In his older age, Coltrane has shown himself an actor adept at playing teenagers who keep themselves at a distance from the real world. Coltrane would be well-suited to play Topher, as the latter also keeps himself at a distance… but instead of keeping a distance from other people, this Runaways adversary also keeps a distance from sunlight and garlic.
4. The Gibborim – Ian Whyte
There are some things about Runaways that may be lost in translation from page to screen. Karolina’s light-transformation may not seem as powerful when limited by a TV CGI budget, and unless Hulu can muster a Game of Thrones–sized budget, it’d be smart to start lowering expectations for how Old Lace is going to look. One bit of comic book magic that we hope doesn’t get lost in the transition is the sheer awesomeness of The Gibborim. The Gibborim aren’t awesome in the sense of being cool or radical, but in the sense that you are struck with awe upon witnessing these massive beasts.
There’s no hotter name in kind-of-human acting right now than Ian Whyte, who serves as Game Of Thrones go-to Giant-portrayer. Whether he’s playing Dongo The Doomed or the fan favorite Wun Wun, Whyte instills emotion into the awkward movements and limited dialogue of the Giants in a way that few other actors can. How much of that is Whyte and how much is the Game of Thrones crew isn’t clear, but Whyte should still be under heavy consideration if Hulu decides to go the practical effect route with The Gibborim.
3. Dale Yorkes – Michael Emerson
Many members of The Pride had lives and stories outside of their existence with the organizations. However, it seems the members of The Pride that the Runaways just can’t stop running into are Gertie’s parents, the evil time-travelers Dale and Stacey Yorkes. This is partly due to the fact that even if the Runaways were following The Pride in their own present timeline, the moment the group of teenagers gets shifted in the time-space continuum, they run the risk of running into the Yorke duo. With a massive collection of futuristic weaponry and ancient creatures (like the Velociraptor they bequeath their daughter), the Yorkes may have the best military tech in the whole Marvel universe.
Michael Emerson is great at playing evil characters, and even better at playing characters that make the audience ask “Wait, is this dude evil?” Dale Yorkes may want to sacrifice the human race to create a Utopian paradise, but he’s still a father who loves his daughter. The role of Dale Yorkes isn’t all that dissimilar to the role that made Emerson famous, Lost‘s Ben Linus. Emerson can deliver great performances in his sleep, so casting him in this role is a no-brainer.
2. Stacey Yorkes – Ann Dowd
If the saying that behind every great man is an even greater woman is true – and it’s often the case in the works of Brian K. Vaughan – then Stacey Yorkes will have a major role to play in a Runaways series. Originally from the 87th Century along with her husband Dale, she has influence across various ages and times, including running crime syndicates in 1907 while raising a daughter in 1985. The Yorkes family are not to be messed with, and its matriarch is deserving of an actress who can intimidate accordingly.
Ann Dowd is probably a very nice person in real life, but in recent years has proved herself to be incredibly skilled at playing monstrous human beings, such as the sadistic manager Sandra in Compliance and the cult leader Patti Levin in The Leftovers. Ann Dowd may seem like your charming aunt who brings sweet potato casserole to Thanksgiving and forgets that she tells the same story every single year, but it’s clear that there is more going on behind that kind exterior. Dowd is adept at portraying some of the darkest parts of humanity with confidence, which makes her a perfect choice for Stacey Yorkes.
1. Old Lace – Blue
If there’s one breakout star from Runaways, it’s Old Lace. Old Lace is a psychic Velociraptor – or Deinonychus if we’re getting specific. Psychics are awesome because they can do things with their mind that most sentient beings can’t. Velociraptors are cool because they are fast and scary and can kill things very easily. Old Lace is both of those things, so obviously, she’s extremely cool. Old Lace is both one of the Runaways’ best weapons and their team pet, and by the end of the first volume, the readers have as strong of a connection with Old Lace as they do with any other character. By the end of the series, Old Lace isn’t just a pet, she’s a Runaway in her own right.
While Jurassic World may have had a problem portraying female characters of the human variety according to some critics, the film managed to craft a complex and confident female lead in the form of Blue, the Velociraptor that assists the protagonists in defending the park. While Blue isn’t afraid to show her vicious side in battle, she’s also able to show compassion and understanding to others. Whatever CGI team that constructed Blue is hopefully the same one hired by Hulu to ensure that Old Lace is properly adapted to the small screen.
Runaways is still a long way from making it to Hulu’s streaming platform, but hopefully sometime between now and the premiere, Hulu will confirm their casting choices so that fans can get an idea of what to expect from the series. Are there any characters we missed or actors who you think would be a better fit for the leading roles? Let us know in the comments!