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."
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.'"
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?
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, 2014, The 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!