Marvel's Runaways: See how the show compares to the comics
Meet the Runaways and the Pride
Marvel’s latest superhero series, Runaways, follows six disparate teens who discover their parents are part of an apparent criminal organization known as The Pride. (Read our full preview on the show here.) How different will these characters be from the 2003 comics by Brian K. Vaughan on which the series is based? EW turned to executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, as well as the cast, to get the scoop. Beware: Show and comic spoilers ahead!
Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz)
The self-proclaimed nerd of the crew, who has no powers but his intellect, has long hoped to reunite with his childhood friends. "Alex is a smart kid," Feliz says. "He’s a bit of a loner, a little bit of a nerd, but he’s very calculated. In terms of how similar he is [to the comics], I’d say pretty similar. He naturally takes the lead in some instances, but he has no powers, so he doesn’t jump into the battles, but he’s brave and he’s strong and he knows what’s right, he knows what’s wrong, and he’s going to do whatever he has to do in order to create justice."
Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano)
Tough, intelligent, and independent, Nico is very similar to her comic book counterpart, down to being able to power the magical Staff of One. "We first meet her as this budding Wiccan that uses her goth appearance to sort of isolate herself from her peers and her family," Okano says. "Then throughout the course of the season, she discovers that her mom has the Staff of One, which she figures out that she has a power to activate as well, and the Staff of One basically is able to produce spells that are element-based, like water, wind, fire, and earth."
Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner)
Though saddled with high expectations and many responsibilities from her famous parents, who run the Scientology-esque Church of Gibborim, Karolina is eager to spread her wings — which she may actually be able to do once she discovers she can glow with rainbow-colored light. "When we meet Karolina, she’s in a place where she’s not living her truth," Gardner says. "She’s just unhappy, and she’s pretending to be this perfect church girl with the perfect family, and then she realizes that that’s not making her happy, and that’s not who she actually is, and that she has desires that kind of outreach what she’s been told to act like her whole life."
Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin)
The heartthrob and star athlete at his local high school, Chase is often assumed to be just a jock, but has a knack for engineering — which will eventually come in handy using his weaponized gauntlets, called fistigons. In the comics, however, he's not very bright. "My character is probably the most different from the comics," Sulkin says. "He’s just a bit more layered, he’s more complex. They’ve taken a character that was written years ago and made him a little bit more relevant and current. He has untapped brilliance in engineering, and I think that’s an interesting storyline, because you see his similarities to his dad, but at the same time he also comes from a family that he doesn’t particularly feel like he belongs to or, in fact, loves."
Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta)
Known as Molly Hayes in the comics, the character yearns to find her place in the world, made all the more difficult when her version of going through puberty includes gaining super strength. "She’s a 14-year-old girl, who's a ball of energy and she’s so enthusiastic," Acosta says. "She’s intelligent, she’s very observant, and she’s kind of like the detective. Even though she’s still young and innocent, she’s very mature for her age and very responsible and very noble." (Notably absent from the comics are Molly's parents — there's a very good reason why she's been adopted by the Yorkes family that fans will discover in season 1.)
Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer)
The purple-haired, contemporary riot grrrl is known to hide her true feelings by going all in on taking social justice stands. But she'll be shocked to discover the source of her power — which will be revealed in the next slide! "Gert is this totally badass feminist teen who is at that age, or at least the age I was at, when I first learned about all the injustices in the world," Barer says. "And just like me, she kind of took it personally and is this very passionate girl filled with contradictions and hormones, as many teenage girls are, which makes for a very interesting real character, and that’s what I love so much about playing her."
Hold on to your butts and meet Runaways’ very own clever girl — the genetically engineered velociraptor Old Lace. The scaly sidekick shares an empathic and telepathic link with Gert and acts as both an imposing bodyguard and a lovable pet. “It was never an if, it wasn’t even when, it was how,” says Schwartz of bringing the comic book fan-fave creature to life. The how was achieved using CGI and a lifelike animatronic puppet created by Legacy Effects, the dino geniuses behind Jurassic Park. For her part, Barer thanks Game of Thrones for breaking ground in this department for TV. “Daenerys really paved the way for us women with reptiles,” the actress jokes. “I am the Daenerys of our show.”
Leslie Dean (Annie Wersching)
Originally an alien invader who posed as a Hollywood actor in the comics, Karolina's mother is the leader of the Scientology-esque Church of Gibborim and Pride's most dedicated member. "The Deans in particular, Leslie for sure, are the furthest characters from the original way they were in the comics," Wersching says. "Leslie, in our show, is the leader of the Church of Gibborim, a celebrity church that has a lot of attention to it. She's a very poised, charismatic, manipulative leader who does a lot of good in the community, but it definitely takes her away from the priorities of her daughter and family, and so it's her life, running this church."
Frank Dean (Kip Pardue)
Karolina's father, who looks to quickly climb the ranks of the Church of Gibborim, is a former teen star who is struggling in his professional acting career — a departure from the comics, where he and his wife were alien invaders posing as Hollywood actors. Also a departure is his role in The Pride, which will be revealed in due time. "Deviating from the comics is a tricky subject," Pardue says. "Josh and Stephanie have handled it so well. One of the things that they had to do was pull Frank and Leslie both back to Earth, literally. We’re not aliens, we have different power — we have this power of influence, this power of being able to suck people into our web, so to speak. But Frank is on a little bit different path throughout the entire season."
Geoffrey Wilder (Ryan Sands)
In the comics, Geoffrey was a crime boss who handled illegal drug trade before joining The Pride. On the show, Alex's father had a simlar trajectory working his way out of poverty and street life to become a successful businessman. "One of the things we want to set up is that we didn’t want there to be any true villains in the story," Schwartz says. "So hopefully, as you get to know the Pride more, you understand how conflicted they are about the things that they're being asked to do."
Catherine Wilder (Angel Parker)
Also involved in her husband's criminal activity in the comics, Alex's mother is a ruthless and successful lawyer on the show. Despite the kids witnessing their parents commit a horrific act in the premiere, "Different kids are going to have different reactions to what their parents did, and there will be alliances drawn amongst the kids on that line," Schwartz says. "Some kids absolutely believe that their parents are evil, others want to find a different explanation for what their parents could have done, and those alliances will shift over the course of the season."
Tina Minoru (Brittany Ishibashi)
Secretly a dark wizard posing with her husband as an average couple in the comics, Nico's mother is a brilliant innovator and ruthless CEO who wields the Staff of One, and shares quite a few incredible gifts with her daughter. "Tina Minoru is sort of our female Steve Jobs as the CEO of Wizard Computers, which obviously is our nod to the fact that they’re actual wizards," Schwartz says.
Robert Minoru (James Yaegashi)
Also a dark wizard in the comics, Nico's father struggles to stand up to his wife in the wake of a tragic loss. "We have some strong women," Schwartz notes. "There are some boss ladies that run Pride."
Dale Yorkes (Kevin Weisman)
In the comics, Dale and his wife, Stacey, are time travelers, but Gert's father has a different profession on the show. "The Yorkes are genetic engineers, which is connected to the dinosaur story," Savage says.
Stacey Yorkes (Brigid Brannagh)
Originally time travelers in the comics, Gert's parents are granola hippies who are bioengineers linked to the origin of Old Lace and rooted in furthering Pride’s mission. Continuing what Savage said in the previous slide, the EP notes, "None of this is science-fiction to me. It's all happening right now."
Victor Stein (James Masters)
Similar to the comics, Chase's father is an engineering genius. "Victor Stein's company is sort of Tesla-esque," Schwartz says. "It's a Tesla/Space X technology company. We built out all these companies and subcultures around the parents."
Janet Stein (Ever Carradine)
In the comics, Janet and her husband were world-renowned inventors. On the show, Chase's mother is the perfect PTA mom with a brilliant mind. "There’s a great thing in the book about how every kid believes their parents are evil, what if your parents actually were?" Schwartz says. "There’s an analogous question that Brian poses in the book, which is the idea that every parent does something that they believe their kids are going to hate you for, but in your mind you say, 'In time, you’ll understand I was doing that for your own good.' So we feel like we’ve properly motivated these parents that what they’re doing, they believe, actually could be really good for their children."