Marvel TV Boss on Why “Runaways” Took So Long to Become a TV Show


Marvel TV boss Jeph Loeb knows how long fans have been waiting for a TV series adaptation.

He’s very well aware that since the very beginning when Marvel first decided to venture into TV, the Brian K. Vaughn-created title has been a popular fan choice among comic books that deserve adaptation.

“Television now has a voice, which is very different form the movies,” Loeb told Tracking Board ahead of the premiere of the Hulu superhero series. “Our audience has become sophisticated enough that they can say, ‘that works really well as a television show, I don’t know that that would work as a movie,’ and if you go back and look at any of the articles form that time, within the top five, there was always Runaways. It was always in there. There was no choice about it, it was something we wanted to do.”

However, the ages of the characters – a group of teenagers who team up after discovering their parents are supervillains – kept Marvel from getting too ahead of themselves, at a time when live-action superhero TV shows were not as commonplace as they are today.

“We didn’t know if it was something we wanted to do right out of the gate, largely because it is such a young cast,” Loeb said. “How do you tell that story and get the audience comfortable with superpowered people in the real world? Do we want to start out with young heroes? And I think the answer was, let’s see whether or not we can get the adult heroes up, before we go into the young world. So it was really about a year ago that we started looking at the landscape [for bringing in Runaways]. Some of that was about knowing that Spider-Man Homecoming was going to come out and he’s a young hero, and some of it was there are networks out there that do cater to a younger audience. How do we get into business with them? How do we tell the best story that we could?”

To tell the best story of Runaways, Loeb and Marvel recruited showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, the teen drama masterminds behind shows like The OC and Gossip Girl – but they’re far from comic book superfans.

“They don’t look at it as a superhero show, they look at it as a teen drama,” Loeb said. “Which is something they’re very comfortable with, having done The OC and having done Gossip Girl. So their learning curve was, instead of breaking down and going into your room and slamming the door on your parents, why not pick up a car and throw it? That’s not something that happens on the show but it’s a metaphor for, how do you take the things that happen in the Marvel universe and put them through the prism in order to make reality out of it?”

The first three episodes of Runaways are now streaming on Hulu, with each subsequent new episode premiering every Tuesday.

 | TV Editor
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