Runaways' Church of Gibborim is the MCU's Scientology

Marvel's Runaways star Annie Wersching discusses the cultish Church of Gibborim and how it may connect to Karolina Dean's powers.

Mild spoilers for Runaways


The Marvel Cinematic Universe now has its own celebrity cult in the form of Runaways' Church of Gibborim. Given that Runaways co-creator Brian K. Vaughan is a consulting producer on the Hulu adaptation of the comic, it makes sense the show is fairly faithful to the comics. Most of the teen heroes look and act like their comic book counterparts, and their powers seem to be intact. The show even made sure to include the dinosaur Old Lace, utilizing a mix of practical and digital effects to bring the creature to life. Still, some alterations to the source material were made, specifically when it comes to The Pride.

Like the Runaways TV show, the original comics introduce The Pride as a criminal organization masquerading as a charity group. The show, however, adds more nuance to the parents and allows them to be main characters alongside their kids. As a result, the two groups don't split the way they do in the comics, keeping The Pride in the picture more and fleshing out their backstory. One of the biggest changes comes in the form of Gibborim, who are ancient beings who fund and empower The Pride in the comics. Runaways the series, meanwhile, has transformed them into a Scientology-like church run by the enigmatic Leslie Dean.

RELATED: Runaways Creator Calls TV Series ‘Fantastic’

EW spoke with Runaways star Annie Wersching about her character Leslie and just how the Church of Gibborim will be presented. In doing so, she also hints at changes to her and Karolina's backstory:

"There’s definitely going to be a lot of parallels drawn with Scientology. As it was presented to me by Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie is that it’s actually quite different. It’s all based in science and it’s all about the UV rays and everything you can see in your spectrum and what’s beyond that. But, yeah, it definitely has a little bit of a creepy vibe, has a little bit of a cultish vibe. The smiles that they wear, I think in that alone, they’re a little bit creepy."

In the comics, the Deans are aliens with light manipulation powers who pose as actors. Wersching's comments, however, make it seem as if there's some sort of scientific basis for their powers. Karolina has some version of her comic book abilities on the Runaways TV series, but it's not clear if her parents do too. It could be that the mysterious being The Pride is sacrificing to is granting Karolina powers, but the show has yet to confirm that after its first three episodes.

By shifting this story mostly onto Leslie, this gives her a singular power that differs from the comics. The Pride of the Runaways TV show seem to have an idea of what's going on, but Wersching has made it clear that her character is the one holding all the cards:

"Leslie is really the only one who truly knows what Pride is for, and I think she lets a lot of other characters believe that they are the leader of Pride, but she really is pulling all the strings. She’s the only one who knows the bigger plan, and what truly Pride is being used for."

While the Gibborim may not be quite as fantastical as they are on the page, it looks as if Runaways will keep the idea alive as an overarching mystery nonetheless. The three episodes released so far have provided plenty of hints about the larger narrative, but it's clear that the future of Runaways will revolve around the Dean family history.

MORE: Runaways Character & Powers Guide

Runaways airs Tuesdays on Hulu.

Source: EW

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