Everybody wants in on the superhero action. Disney's Marvel Entertainment and WB's DC Entertainment are currently releasing 2-3 movies per year each alone, and that doesn't even cover adaptations from other comic book publishers or the X-Men franchise at Fox (who also has Kingsman: The Secret Service). Keeping fans occupied between big budget theatrical releases are a multitude of television series spreading across even more networks.
Sony's PlayStation service had Powers (which was just cancelled, mind you), Amazon is adapting The Tick into a live-action series, The CW has four connected DC TV shows, ABC has Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and several other series in development, Netflix has the mighty popular and growing Defenders universe, and Fox/FX are each getting an X-Men TV series. Even CW's offshoot digital service, CW Seed has DC's Vixen, while Freeform (previously ABC Family) is adapting Marvel's Cloak and Dagger. Now, Hulu is getting in on the Marvel TV action as well with Runaways.
That's right, Marvel Comics readers, consider any hopes of a movie adaptation of Runaways - which was the initial plan for the film originally set to release alongside The Avengers in 2012 - dashed. Runaways was going to be directed by Peter Sollett (Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist) off a screenplay by Drew Pearce. Based off of Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona's teen superhero comic book series (of which Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon wrote several issues), Runaways was shelved so Marvel Studios could focus on launching Avengers and building the Marvel Cinematic Universe around it.
Who's Making the Runaways TV Series?
Instead of coming to ABC or Netflix, Marvel TV and ABC Signature are making Runaways into a pilot with additional episode scripts for Hulu, who are planning for a full-season greenlight for the show about six teens who literally run away from their supervillain parents. Gossip Girl creators Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage are showrunning the series, and the former is a familiar name to comic book movie followers for having written the original screenplay for X-Men: First Class before director Bryan Singer took over and did his own thing. On Runaways, Schwartz says:
“I’m a long-time fan of Runaways and couldn’t be more excited to bring Brian and Adrian’s characters to life.
“Josh and I can’t wait to get to work for Marvel and Hulu.”
Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb:
“We’ve known the Runaways‘ story would make great television, and being lucky enough to have Josh and Stephanie — who have time and again created shows that speak so genuinely to this exact audience — write and produce the series is nothing short of remarkable.”
What About The Runaways Movie Plans?
Even though the Runaways movie was indefinitely put on hold but occasionally namedropped by Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige when prodded, the project did at least introduce Feige and Marvel to Pearce, who went on to help write Iron Man 3 with its director Shane Black. We spoke with Pearce when he also wrote and directed the Marvel One-Shot, All Hail The King, and at the time he told he his vision of Runaways would not work for TV - that it would need to be a big film (he very much wanted Denzel Washington in it, even. This is what he told me about Runaways as a TV series show back in 2014:
"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.'”
And on Netflix:
“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.”
Is expanding to Hulu a smart movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Should it cross over with any other Marvel TV programming? Share your thoughts in the comments!