Warning: This story contains major spoilers from the season finale of Marvel’s Runaways. Read at your own risk!
Marvel’s Runaways finally fulfilled its comic book destiny.
After the epic showdown with Pride resulted in Karolina (Virginia Gardner) being taken by Jonah (Julian McMahon), the Runaways infiltrated Gibborim to set her free. Pressure also mounted for Pride, with most turning against Jonah, especially as they learned that whatever is inside the hole is actually alive. But they remain divided themselves after Leslie (Annie Wersching) admits to knowing all along that Jonah killed Amy.
Ultimately, the kids are forced to go on the run from their parents when they end up on the news as wanted fugitives, accused of kidnapping Molly (Allegra Acosta) and framed for killing Destiny. It’s literally the moment from which the show — and the 2003 comics on which it’s based — gets its name: The kids are now officially Runaways.
EW turned to executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage about reaching this iconic moment and what’s ahead for season 2 (Hulu announced the second season renewal earlier this week):
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Though the Runaways are now officially Runaways, there’s still much about Jonah’s plans that we didn’t get answers to. Why did you guys decide to leave so much on the table?
JOSH SCHWARTZ: Well, you want to leave your end of season 1 as enticing as possible to maybe help motivate a second season, but we thought we were answering quite a lot of the questions that we started posing at the beginning of the season, and certainly brought a lot of the big relationship threads to some kind of cathartic moment, and everybody wants to know when they run and we answered that question! We felt like there was a lot we were answering, but we also wanted to make sure there was a lot of fun questions. This comic book, what helped make its name was Brian K. Vaughan’s ability to deliver cliffhangers that keep you coming back for each issue and we wanted to do the same in our finale.
Was it written up on the board in the writers’ room: “Finally run away”?
STEPHANIE SAVAGE: It didn’t say “finally,” but yes.
SCHWARTZ: We wanted to tell all the stories we can with these kids living under these roofs. When we made the decision that they were going to run, we knew we were saying goodbye to a version of the show. Next season is going to be an exciting new paradigm and new show for us to tackle.
Even though they’ve run away, will you still have dual storytelling between the kids and the adults next season?
SCHWARTZ: We haven’t figured out all of that, but surely the kids’ world is going to be expanding next year as they’re out on their own in new environments, but we still plan on keeping the Pride very much part of the show.
Can you talk about where next season could pick up?
SAVAGE: I’ve started working on my Pinterest board and it includes some images from your favorite movies of kids living by themselves, whether it’s Kids or The Outsiders.
SCHWARTZ: Rebel Without a Cause.
SAVAGE: The hostel [the Runaways hide in] is obviously a huge part of the comic and that’s something we’re really looking forward to bringing to life. There’s still some design questions that will need to be thought of and figured out, but it’ll be really interesting. The show will feel very different next year. We’ll see exactly what form the structure takes, but they’re definitely going to have a hideout next year.
If this season was really about building up toward these kids facing their parents, what would season 2 explore? How much will being on their own put even more pressure on them?
SCHWARTZ: These are some spoiled kids who will be living on the streets now, so that will be interesting in itself. Our tagline for season 2 is: Every kid turns into their parents.
Pride has made the Runaways wanted criminals, but they basically all have the same goal now to take down Jonah. Why not work together?
SCHWARTZ: What’s starting to come together at the end of the season is this new alliance of Pride vs. Jonah. The Wilders are outsiders right now and don’t really trust anybody, so they’re this third faction. Then, you have Jonah aligning with Frank Dean, who is either newly woke or newly evil, it’s hard to say, and whatever the next version of Victor Stein is going to be when he gets out of that box.
Jonah got a text message that said “Mission complete.” Could that be Jonah’s mole or was that just Frank? Is that a set up for next season?
SCHWARTZ: You’ll have to watch and see.
SAVAGE: Yes, to be continued.
There’s something big and alive at the bottom of that hole. Could you actually be adapting the comic books and the Gibborim giants are down there?
SCHWARTZ: What’s at the bottom of that hole is going to be a lot of answers about Jonah and where he comes from, and Karolina obviously. Down there also is the depth of our mythology as well. The comic book will be a guide, but it’s also something we will adapt [in new ways].
Leslie seemed surprised by Karolina’s powers. Does this mean Leslie does not have those same powers?
SCHWARTZ: Correct. It was not Leslie who was glowing in the bed. It was Jonah that was glowing in the bed. Some people thought it was Leslie, but it was Jonah.
SAVAGE: She’s got her father’s glow, to paraphrase Rosemary’s Baby.
Now that Tina knows Leslie had an inadvertent hand in Amy’s death, what will that showdown look like between them? Is it all but eventual?
SCHWARTZ: It will be an epic catfight, as Jonah put it.
SAVAGE: Yeah, as united as those guys may be about needing to take down Jonah, that’s going to be a pretty messy proposition, because people still have a lot of competing agendas and passionate emotions about various things that people have done or will do in the future.
SCHWARTZ: The Runaways may be on the run, but the Pride is in pretty bad shape, too. They’re pretty banged up.
Is there now a ticking time clock going into season 2 with Jonah getting flaky again? Will that push the timeline up on his plans?
SCHWARTZ: Expect things to accelerate very quickly as we come into the top of next season. The pressure is on.
Could what happens to Jonah also happen to Karolina?
SAVAGE: We’ll find out.
There was a newspaper that teased L.A. is on earthquake watch. Is that a nod toward the future?
SCHWARTZ: It was also something we saw of a flash of in Victor’s time machine. We’re dropping some hints, for sure.
SAVAGE: Also, everyone in L.A. thinks we’re due for an earthquake.
SCHWARTZ: We’re just trying to do a public service.
What was a point of pride for you this season?
SCHWARTZ: Our cast was a point of pride. To have this many series regulars and have everybody be great and just deliver, and playing all these different notes of the humor, the drama, and the shifting alliances. I just think the cast is so wonderful across the board, including Old Lace.
SAVAGE: I agree with that.
Anything you’d want to change?
SAVAGE: Anything that I would change would be so in the weeds about production and things that we learned about making a show of this magnitude with this many moving parts — visual effects, special effects, animatronic dinosaurs, 17 cast regulars, and production schedules that have you shooting on location every single day.
SCHWARTZ: I think we’re really proud of the season and we tried to do something that would honor the spirit of the comic and be a different experience for people who have read the comics, and hopefully go deeper with the relationships and trying to tell the story in surprising ways. That was our hope, our plan, and our ambition and we’re proud of the show. We’ve learned a lot of things along the way that we’re excited to apply for season 2.