Runaways star Brittany Ishibashi can't confirm whether she's connected to the Tina Minoru in Doctor Strange, but she's still done her research. While Marvel Studios were trailblazers in terms of cinematic shared universes, their efforts to expand the MCU into television hasn't always landed. On the one hand, the shows on ABC and Netflix all live in the same world as the Avengers, but timelines and continuity haven't always aligned. What's more, but none of the films ever seem concerned with the rash of vigilantes and super-powered individuals running around.
When Runaways finally came out of its long development process as a TV series on Hulu, fans had a fairly big question: would Nico's mother Tina be connected to the same character that appeared in Doctor Strange? Despite different actors occupying the roles and some scenes cut from last year's movie, the climactic battle of Doctor Strange still featured Tina Minoru with the Staff of One. What's more, a Doctor Strange tie-in comic even explicitly introduced her as a seemingly heroic magic user. So when Runaways premieres, will we meet a Tina who's fought alongside Doctor Strange?
We spoke with Brittany Ishibashi during the press junket for Runaways and couldn't help but ask if her character Tina would arrive with any reference to the events in Doctor Strange.
"[Laughs] Um...Nico's into Wicca. Yeah. The Staff of One is prominent. I don't know what I can say. I... I... Maybe?..."
Whether Ishibashi is demonstrating more of Marvel's reluctance to fully connect the TV side of things to the MCU films or not, her answer seems to at least not rule out the possibility. When we said as much, more nervous laughter arrived with Ishibashi's co-star and on-screen husband James Yaegashi saying to take the response however we wish, naturally followed by more laughter. After that, Ishibashi seemed to provide somewhat of a definitive answer, at least for the time being: "Not in what we've seen. That's fair, right?"
It seems that perhaps the first season of Runaways won't touch on the connection, at least not explicitly. That doesn't mean, however, that the actors who play the Minorus aren't aware of their character's existing ties to the MCU. When asked if she had seen Doctor Strange, Ishibashi had this to say:
"Yeah. [Laughs] And searched online for all the stuff that I could find that was like edited or like cut out. Pictures of the Staff. All that stuff."
If nothing else, it seems that Ishibashi is at least aware of her character's lore in the MCU. That said, her having to do outside research may confirm that Marvel themselves had nothing to do with passing along this knowledge. And while an event from Tina's past could certainly go unreferenced in Runaways, it does create some concerns.
For one, the Tina in Doctor Strange looked a good deal younger than Ishibashi. Even with that explained away, there's still the fact that both the film and its comic showed Tina as heroically defending the world. In Runaways, meanwhile, she'll be part of a massive criminal organization. While the story between those two sides of her could be a fascinating one to explore, it seems as if Runaways won't be telling it anytime soon.
Runaways premieres November 21 on Hulu.