What do you do when your superhero show is coming to an end after its third season? How about when the entire division of Marvel that makes said show is being shut down and reorganized? Well, if you’re the creative team behind the Hulu show Marvel's Runaways, you go for broke and get messy. After all 10 of its bloody final episodes hit the streaming service, fans might be shocked with just how many characters die. But the more impressive thing is that the body count was almost even higher.
Speaking to EW, executive producers Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage explained why they felt free to wreak havoc on their Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona adaptation — and why they didn’t end up going as far as they could have.
This story contains spoilers for the final season of The Runaways.
“Brian and Adrian killed all the parents in the first 18 issues, so we felt like it was time to get our hands dirty,” Savage said. The parents are all members of a criminal organization known as the Pride, so don’t feel too bad that Janet Stein (Ever Carradine), Catherine Wilder (Angel Parker), and Robert Minoru (James Yaegashi) all got smoked in the final season.
“We knew we were moving towards what we anticipated to be the final season,” Schwartz explained, “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.” That said, some of these consequences weren’t as permanent as they seemed on the surface.
“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 said. “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.”
But when the final season’s Big Bad, Elizabeth Hurley’s Morgan le Fay, killed Gert (Ariela Barer), there was a real “conversation” about whether to make it stick for good. However, it came down to how much the EPs loved their characters. Going full Endgame in the finale, the Runaways time travel and undo Gert’s death — a death that’s a longtime comics favorite.
“It’s something that the comics did give us license to do, if we wanted to,” Savage said of a more permanent death. “We were just, I guess, too soft-hearted and too in love with our characters.” But, referencing the later resurrection of Gert in the comics, Schwartz noted that since the source material “demonstrated that there was a way to bring her back,” they felt free to follow their soft hearts. The show may have ended, but the team is all alive and together — so if there is a future for them somewhere on the small screen, there won’t be any canonical hoops to jump through.
The entire third season of Runaways is streaming now on Hulu.