By Sydney Bucksbaum
December 13, 2019 at 10:00 AM EST
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Warning: This article contains spoilers for the third and final season of Marvel’s Runaways.

Cue up “Another One Bites the Dust” for the parents on Marvel’s Runaways, because the song couldn’t be more appropriate for season 3. The final installment just kept going, “And another one gone, and another one gone,” killing off more characters in one season than the entire series had done before.

It was brutal, it was deadly, and it was something that executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage knew they had to do this season.

“We talked a lot about there being some consequences,” Schwartz tells EW of killing off Janet Stein (Ever Carradine), Catherine Wilder (Angel Parker), and Robert Minoru (James Yaegashi) in quick succession. “We knew we were moving towards what we anticipated to be the final season, and we felt like there needed to be consequences to show just how grave the stakes were now, to both the runaways and to Pride.”

While developing season 3, Schwartz and Savage knew there was the possibility it would be be the last season they’d get to create with these characters. And they were right, as Marvel and Hulu announced just last month that season 3 is the final installment for Runaways. So they finally pulled the trigger on killing off multiple Pride parents in one fell swoop.

“[Original Runaways comic authors] Brian [K. Vaughan] and Adrian [Alphona] killed all the parents in the first 18 issues, so we felt like it was time to get our hands dirty,” Savage says with a laugh.

But when asked which parent death was the hardest for them to write and shoot, Schwartz says with a chuckle, “That’s a very loaded question.”

Michael Desmond/Hulu

“They were all emotional,” he finally says after a pause. “We sat down and talked to each of the actors and walked them through what was happening and why and everyone really rose to the challenge. All the deaths were extremely impactful.”

Savage adds that because their deaths weren’t always goodbye, it helped make things easier. For example, Janet may have died in the real world, but she really stayed in the algorithm matrix, which meant her consciousness was still around to communicate and even help her son Chase (Gregg Sulkin) and husband Victor (James Marsters) when they needed her. And after Catherine was murdered in prison by fellow inmates, a version of her was seen in the Dark Dimension with her son Alex (Rhenzy Feliz), until he was forced to kill her to escape.

“A lot of them we knew there was some kind of extra element of ‘You’re dead in this world, but we’ll still see you here or there, or you could always come back in this form,’” Savage says. “Knowing they were going to be a big part of our Dark Dimension story helped all of us with the emotions of killing the characters in the real world.”

Another moment that hit hard was the episode 9 cliffhanger, where Gert (Ariela Barer) was killed by Dark Dimension sorcerer Morgan le Fay (Elizabeth Hurley). But episode 10, the series finale, introduced time travel, through which the runaways were able to go back and undo that emotional moment. The show ended with all the runaways alive and together, thankfully, signaling that there are more adventures in their future (even if fans won’t get to see them play out on screen).

But Savage reveals that there was “a conversation” about whether to make Gert’s death permanent instead of going back in time to undo it. “It’s something that the comics did give us license to do, if we wanted to,” she says, before adding with a laugh, “we were just, I guess, too soft-hearted and too in love with our characters.”

“The comics demonstrated that there was a way to bring her back,” Schwartz adds. “So we wanted to be able to do that as well.”

All 10 episodes of Marvel’s Runaways season 3 are streaming on Hulu now.

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