Runaways season 2 appears to have a major connection to Doctor Strange and the Dark Dimension. The Hulu original series will soon return for a second season and once again put the focus on the young group of Marvel heroes. But after season 1 was low on associations with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, audiences may now know how Runaways season 2 will connect to the MCU.
The Runaways team consists of Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz), Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin), Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta), Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), and Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer). The group of youngsters ran away together after discovering some new abilities of their own and upon learning their parents are villains. Almost every member of the Runaways team has some superpower, with Molly's super strength, Chase's fistigons, Gert's pet dinosaur Old Lace, and Karolina's alien DNA. Nico's power instead comes from a magical object known as the Staff of One.
Hulu released a new trailer for Runaways season 2 recently that was packed with exciting footage. But, it's the final shot of the trailer that may be the biggest of them all. Nico is shown standing with the Staff of One in front of her and its the look of the skin around her eyes that should be familiar to MCU fans. The cracked skin revealing a purple layer underneath is the exact same look Kaecilius (Mads Mikkelsen) had in Doctor Strange after connecting to Dormammu and gaining more power from the Dark Dimension.
Kaecilius only received the purple and cracked eyes look after completing a final ritual from the Book of Cagliostro. The ritual saw Kaecilius and his fellow Zealots gain power through the Dark Dimension after basically pledging their allegiance to the dimension's ruler Dormammu. However, the two steps of the ritual first involved Dormammu's symbol being burned into their foreheads. The Staff of One conveniently covers the space in Nico's forehead where Dormammu's symbol would be featured, but a shorter Runaways trailer on Twitter with a new shot confirms she does not have the mark. It's important to note that the Dormammu symbol is not inherently bad, as The Ancient One also had the symbol, but it a sign of using power from the dimension. The second step of Kaecilius' ritual is what took the flesh away from around their eyes and gave the Zealots even more power. Although not explicitly clear, it's arguable that the second step is the one where people commit to Dormmamu and the first gives the performer power from the dimension.
Nico appears to have become ill moments before, in the trailer, when she says there's something wrong with her. Both trailers follow up this line with the reveal of Nico's eyes, so it would appear that she is getting power from the Dark Dimension without understanding what has happened. This would imply that she did not knowingly perform a ritual like Kaecilius and his Zealots, thus making Nico's transformation process completely new. Instead, it could be the Staff of One as a relic draws its power from the Dark Dimension. Tina Minoru claims the Staff of One is a scientific creation and not a magical device in season one, but it's possible not even she understood the technology they were using and did indeed create a magical artifact. Although the Staff doesn't lives inside of Nico like in the comics, it still only works with the power of her blood. Increased usage of the relic could be why she is changing and becoming more powerful.
The question then is shifted to: what becomes of Nico after gaining these abilities? This will be up to Runaways season 2 to reveal, but what can be deduced now is that Nico is gaining power from the Dark Dimension and being transformed as a result. Whether or not Dormammu is involved remains to be seen, as Runaways' seasons 2 MCU connection was said to be a "breadcrumb." With only a few weeks till the shows return, this a great new piece of information for fans to digest in the meantime.
Runaways season 2 premieres Friday, December 21 on Hulu.