While the song may say there’s “no place like home for the holidays,” that’s def not true for Marvel’s Runaways.
The titular characters on Hulu’s comic book adaptation have finally, yes, run away from their super heinous parents and are now living on their own…in a dilapidated mansion obvs.
With season 2 debuting today on the streaming service, EW talked to showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephannie Savage about what fans can expect out of the return.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Set up the premiere. Where are we when we come back?
JOSH SCHWARTZ: It’s pretty much immediate. It’s about 24 hours later and our kids are living up to their name — they are on the run. They are going to find out very quickly that life on the streets and on their own is very different from the cozy, comfy lifestyle they had in Brentwood.
Was there a theme for season two?
SCHWARTZ.: We definitely wanted to lean into this core concept of kids vs. parents. Last year, the kids were discovering why the parents did what they did. This year, the kids realize they have to take down their parents.
STEPHANIE SAVAGE: Last year was almost more of a murder mystery of them trying to figure out what their parents did and why did they do it. This year is much more the cat and mouse and the two sides going to war where it’s very clear that the parents are evil and they need to be punished for what they’ve done.
It seems like you’re amping up the romance this season between the kids.
SCHWARTZ.: Everything is amped up this season. The romance. The action. The powers.
SAVAGE.: Definitely in regard to romance, now the kids are on their own and they feel much closer to each other. Their friendships are more intimate. They’re living together. There’s no parental guidance or oversight. They’re on their own so those choices and those relationships also get amplified.
I love the relationship between Nico (Lyrica Okano)and Karolina (Virginia Gardner). It was hinted at in the comics. What made you wanna go full throttle?
SCHWARTZ.: It was unrequited in the comics. Well, it was definitely what we wanted to do in terms of the storytelling. There was the promise of it in the comic books but it felt like you wanted to see that actually play out. Ginny and Lyrica really responded to it as something they were really interested in exploring.
SAVAGE: They have great chemistry.
SCHWARTZ: It just kinda lent itself to this storyline which has become in some ways the emotional core of the show, or at least one of the emotional cores of the show, and becomes even more important and prominent as the season goes on.
There are so few LGBTQ superheroes. What has the fan response been to this?
SCHWARTZ: The reaction from fans to this storyline has been really powerful. We were doing an interview last year and the woman who was talking to us was a comic book enthusiast and she felt like she could come out of the closet when she was in high school because of reading Karolina and reading this comic. So, it’s always had a very strong connection.
SAVAGE: The fan art on Tumblr is incredible. It’s really beautiful.
SCHWARTZ: It actually inspired some of our images we did this season.
SAVAGE: One scene specifically this season.
SCHWARTZ: It’s in episode 5. It’s in their room and directly inspired by Tumblr fan art so thank you to whoever created it!
What was the biggest lesson you learned from season 1 that you took to season 2?
SCHWARTZ: It was where we were always headed, which was people wanting to see them as runaways. We obviously wanted to build the season to get to that moment and we wanted you to invest in the parent characters as well as the kid characters. We felt there were more stakes to the decision of the kids to run away if their parents were dimensional, flawed characters who loved their kids and you understood that. So, we were excited that that’s where the fans wanted us to get to and that’s what this season was going to be delivering right out of the gate.
In the first episode, you introduce the teens’ new lair, The Hostel. Is it basically a sunken mansion?
SAVAGE: [Laughs] It’s in Griffith Park. It was originally built in the ‘20s by a magician. It was lived in for many years, perhaps sometime in the ’60s or ’70s there was an earthquake or mudslide that made it uninhabitable. But other kids over the years have happened upon it and there’s a lair in there that sorta belongs in our mind to the 1980s punk squatters who have come there. There’s some graffiti and band posters. Gert [Ariela Barer] finds a leather jacket. There’s something for everybody something of a magical closet in the Hostel.
SCHWARTZ: It’s not really a magical closet.
SAVAGE: There’s the perfect wide-legged 1970s jeans for Karolina and the perfect leather jacket for Gert and an adorable tiny tuxedo jacket for Nico. So, everything you’d want from every era is hiding in that closet.
Josh, I think you told me this set is huge.
SCHWARTZ: It’s the biggest set that Marvel television has ever built. When [comics co-creator] Brian K. Vaughn came to the set for the first time, he had tears in his eyes. It was such a cool and dramatic recreation of what he alluded to in the comics. We wanted it to be our equivalent of like the Batcave. But also, they’re going to be sharing rooms together. It wasn’t just about, “Oh, we can practice our powers there but also it’s our new home.” It’s the kids living on their own and sharing close quarters. We wanted it to feel kind of magical and romantic but also gritty.
SAVAGE: You’ll appreciate it was also very inspired by the house in The Beverly Hillbillies.
I’m a sucker for a dramatic staircase. So, tell me what’s going on with Pride and the parents? Tina (Brittany Ishibashi) particularly comes out of the gate real evil.
SCHWARTZ: Obviously, we worked hard last year to create these parents who felt complicated and flawed and nuanced. But we also wanted to remind the audience at the beginning of this season that they’re not saints and make sure we got their hands dirty. It’s not just Jonah who’s manipulating them but these parents have made some choices and are willing to do some ruthless things to achieve their goals. That’s not going to sit well with all of Pride. As you get further into the season, you’ll start to see some of the other parents start to get their hands dirty.
SAVAGE: And losing control of their kids is going to make them more of who they are, whether that’s good or bad.
Molly (Allegra Acosta) loses someone close to her in the premiere and she sorta seems almost on a vigilante path this season.
SCHWARTZ: Even before the first episode, Molly has lost more than any of these kids and she’s the one who has the ability to do something about it — she has this power where she can actually right these wrongs. So that sends her into a lone vigilante path.
SAVAGE: Also, her being a little bit younger than the other kids, I think things are a little bit more black and white. A lot of them are having intellectual arguments about themselves and each other about what’s the right thing to do and having morals in this world. For Molly, everything is much simpler and straight ahead.
What can you say about Jonah (Julian McMahon) this year? He seems even more hellbent on destruction.
SCHWARTZ: Well, I think you’ll realize it’s not that he’s hellbent on destruction but he has his own reasons for doing what he’s doing. He’s more like the parents in some ways than they may realize. Obviously, at the end of last season we learned that Jonah is Karolina’s father and that is a relationship we’re going to explore this year.
SAVAGE: That is going to change him a little bit as the season goes on.
You tease this cataclysmic event that Jonah is predicting. Will that continue to get worse?
SAVAGE: It will get worse before they get better. No, that’s a big part of our storytelling especially for the first half of the season. We kind of left the end of last season like Jonah is still in power, whatever is in the hole is still in the hole despite the earthquake. We didn’t’ resolve that story and the kids have not forgotten about it either so we’re very engaged in that story for the first half of the season.
Will we learn what’s in the hole by the end of season two?
SCHWARTZ AND SAVAGE: Yes.
Alex’s storyline is really interesting, too, this year. What can you tease about his arc?
SCHWARTZ: Alex [Rhenzy Feliz] is on a search for identity. The revelations he’s learned about his parents have sent him on a path to understand them and what he’s starting to learn is this world his parents tried to protect him from actually may be safer and warmer and more inviting than his own world.
You haven’t yet been renewed for a season 3, but do you know where it would go?
SCHWARTZ: Oh yeah. That will become very clear as you reach the end of season two.