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Hulu is entering the Marvel universe with Runaways, the TV series adaptation of the beloved Brian K. Vaughan graphic novel, and like the comic book behemoth’s cinematic universe, the TV side is all connected, too.
From The O.C. creators Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, who will serve as showrunners, Runaways centers on six teens who unite against a common foe: their parents. It joins a rapidly expanding Marvel TV slate that includes forthcoming Freeform drama Cloak and Dagger and comedy New Warriors as well as ABC’s Inhumans and Fox’s The Gifted. Plus there’s the expanding Marvel world at Netflix with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, The Punisher and The Defenders.
Given the massive slate, it begs the question: Just how are all the shows connected? Marvel head of television Jeph Loeb offered a glimpse into Marvel’s thinking when he met the press Thursday at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour, where he was to support Runaways.
“It all lives in the same world,” he said. “How and where it’s connected and what it’s going to be connected to remains to be seen. … It lives in a world of if you’re a teenager … since it’s all connected through social media and its own way, would you be following Iron Man or somebody that was more your age? The fact that they’ve found each other and are going through this mystery together is what they’re concerned about, not what Captain America is doing on a Friday night.”
Producers stressed that the series will explore the world from the teens’ point of view as well as from their parents’. The pilot is told from the kids’ POV, while the second episode is from the parents’ — with both stories connecting midway through the show’s 10-episode run.
Loeb also stressed that while the immediate plan isn’t to see characters jump networks — like from Freeform’s young-skewing Cloak and Dagger and New Warriors to Hulu’s similarly targeted Runaways universe — he said there isn’t any reason to believe that the shows aren’t connected.
“What’s exciting to us is Runaways, Cloak and Dagger and New Warriors are all new things for us to be able to get into and discover young heroes,” he said. “A lot of the Marvel heroes, as we know, are grown adults that have had something happen to them that irrevocably changed their life. We now have a Spider-Man who is actually 16 years old [with star Tom Holland] and for a long time we had a Spider-Man who was an adult. It’s exciting to us to be able to explore the world of the hero and how it affects someone who is trying to figure out who they are as opposed to already knows who they are and now their whole life has to take a left. That’s the journey we’re going on with these kinds of characters.”
While he stopped short of confirming characters would jump networks to pop in and out across shows, Loeb’s more immediate plans is for the upcoming freshman series to find their footing first and plant Easter eggs for others along the way.
“You’ll see things that comment on each other; we try to touch base wherever we can,” he said. “It’s very much like real life — things that are happening in L.A. are not exactly going to be affecting what’s happening in New Orleans, or what’s happening in New York isn’t on the minds of everyone living in Chicago. It’s being aware of it and trying to find a way for it to be able to discuss in a way that makes sense.”
“I don’t think the Punisher is going to show up on Freeform,” he noted.
Runaways bows Nov. 21 on Hulu.
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