By Aaron Halls
Moderated by Executive Producer Jeph Loeb, the Runaways panel at NYCC hit the ground, well, running, with producer Stephanie Savage and castmembers Rhenzy Feliz (Alex Wilder), Lyrica Okano (Nico Minoru), Virginia Gardner (Karolina Dean), Ariela Barer (Gert Yorkes), Gregg Sulkin (Chase Stein) and Allegra Acosta (Molly Hernandez) all present and accounted-for.
When Marvel’s Runaways debuted on Hulu in 2017 it walked ten episodes towards a destination its heroes had reached within the first six issues of its inspired comic. Much like its team of teenage characters has been forced to live life on the run, Season Two of Marvel’s Runaways explodes forward with propulsive momentum.
On a Friday afternoon at Madison Square Garden the main cast and executive producers of the show were present to debut the 50 minute season premiere to a packed NYCC audience; before showcasing the episode they briefly hyped up the season promising one that’s bigger. “They’re going to war,” co-creator and executive producer Stephanie Savage said when describing the heroes’ status this season in the fight against their villainous parents.
Note: Light spoilers for Marvel’s Runaways Season One and the premiere of Season Two follow.
The Season Two premiere picks up shortly after the events of Season One with the teens being hunted down by their parents and law enforcement. On the streets of LA they find themselves on the move though, in the episodes’ first moments, perhaps for reasons not expected — chasing down a random guy who stole their gear.
Within these initial minutes it’s clear that the writers seem to be using this season to focus on the dynamics of the group. Throughout the episode the teens bicker and banter about which direction to take in regards to their new status quo. In these scenes, just as in the first season, the main Runaways cast display an immediately charming chemistry. The young heroes’ new life as actual runaways gives the series a sense of urgency that sometimes felt lacking Season One.
With this focus the episode also takes beats to examine the blossoming relationships between the core team that developed in Season One; this includes fan favorite dynamics between members Nico and Karolina as well as Chase and Gert.
With such a heavy focus on the kids, the adult parents of the Pride organization feature less than they did during episodes in the first season; this doesn’t make them any less compelling. During the episode we see Pride standing united in finding their kids. Despite this though, just as in the first season, they have hidden opinions about each other which give their interactions a fun vibrancy.
After the episode wrapped up the cast and executive producers engaged in a fun Q&A with the audience.
Actor Gregg Sulkin, who plays Chase, spoke about how the second season was great to film because, having finished the first season, it gave the cast the opportunity to see and imagine what the special effects looked like. “Fistigons — they were telling me [in the first season] ‘Oh yeah, it’s like some white wiry energy thing,” Sulkin said to a laughing audience. “You’d just guess, but I think now, thankfully, the special effects team does an amazing job, so now we know.”
Lyrica Okano, who plays Nico, talked about how as an actress she felt like she first became her character during the audition process. She said this was with the help of her best friend who was a practicing Wiccan like the character Nico. “For the screen test she gave me her ‘Book of Shadows’ which I think is kind of a no-no thing to do, but she did it anyways, and it helped.”
Before closing the panel, moderator and Marvel’s Runaways executive producer Jeph loeb gave the audience a glimpse at the future of the season with an assemblage of clips. A moment that may ring a bell for Runaways comic readers is a character introducing himself as “Topher.” Marvel has now officially announced the actor playing him as Jan Luis Castellanos.
With an exciting focus on the dynamic of its heroes, Marvel’s Runaways Season 2 looks to outstep its predecessor in every way possible; its premiere and NYCC panel showed it just might be able to do so.
You can stream all 13 episodes, including the premiere, of Marvel’s Runaways Season 2 on December 21 on Hulu.