In 2003, when Marvel Comics debuted Runaways—a superhero comic book series created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona—it was meant to introduce a different breed of super heroes. Namely, a younger and more relatable bunch. It’s been 14 years, but fans are now finally getting a show out of the cult classic. Dreamed up by executive producers Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage (the duo behind the widely popular The O.C. and Gossip Girl) and Jeph Loeb, the story revolves around a group of teenagers who, after spying on their parents, discover they’re a part of a villainous organization known as “The Pride.” In response, the dysfunctional team of six flee their parents and band together against a common enemy, all the while learning more about themselves and their powers.
The excitement has been building up ever since Marvel made the announcement back in August of 2016, and the long-awaited inaugural season debuted the 10-episode release on Hulu November 21. Five days before it dropped, the series even got a red carpet treatment with a special premiere event at the Regency Bruin Theatre in Los Angeles.
Upon the first to arrive was Nicole Wolf, who plays the role of a teenage girl who’s sacrificed by members of The Pride. She worked through the interviews, stopping to pose for photographs. Clad in all black—a velvet jumpsuit with ruffles adorning the chest. The only dash of color came from a dangling pair of emerald-green teardrop earrings and a matching ring which gleamed heavily on her finger.
“I’m a diehard Iron Man fan from when it came out, so learning that I got to be in something like this is pretty awesome because, you know, I saw Thor last night, so I love Marvel.” she said, her voice dipping into a soft, dulcet tone. When talking about what drew her to her character the most, she said: “Just that honest and sincere teenage bewilderment at why the world is the way it is and feeling sort of lost and insecure and alone. Feeling like nobody understands when in fact, people do, but you don’t have the courage to necessarily reach out and say that. That felt really true to how I remember being a teenager.”
Gradually, more cast members strolled down a plush black carpet before being stopped by flashes of cameras, and dozens of media professionals who had lined up to received them. To the cheers of fans and several cries from photographers, they posed picturesquely, shifting their stance this way then that.
Appearing in the crowd was the golden flash of Ariela Barer’s jacquard dress—an a-lined number with sleeves that slightly flared like the neck of a vase. The elegance of the outfit contrasted perfectly with her short, damp-looking hair, which was combed, slicked and parted to the side. Gone was the purple hair dye, which is iconic to her character, the quick-witted Gert Yorkes. Although Gert lacks physical powers, she shares a telepathic bond with a genetically engineered dinosaur named “Old Lace.”
Virginia Gardner, who inhabits the unicorn-skinned alien Karolina Dean, turned up in a black see-through gown by Red Valentino, and Allegra Acosta stunned in a Gucci (Resort 2018) floral jacquard mini dress. Her hair, pulled taut in a high bun with an incorporated braid, not only subdued the otherwise opulent look, it also made a strong case for minimalism that leaves a lasting impression. Allegra, who channels Molly Hayes, arguably one of the strongest female characters in the Marvel universe, is also the first on-screen Latina superhero. Adding to the cast’s diversity is Lyrica Okano, the rising Japanese-American starlet who plays the powerful witch Nico Minoru.
Perhaps that’s another big triumph—a cast that’s not only so ethnically diverse, but also with a female-to-male ratio that tilts in favor of the ladies. The only two male superheros in the group are portrayed by Gregg Sulkin and Rhenzy Feliz.
“I’ve always been a Marvel fan ever since, I can’t remember when,” said Rhenzy, who took on the beloved role of Alex Rider. “The earliest blanket I can remember have been Spiderman blankets, so yeah. That was my comforter for a long time. Last week, I updated to some normal, adult blankets. But it’s been great. I’ve loved Marvel my entire life—the movies and what they would do, the effects and the way they made you feel.”
When asked about his character, Rhenzy is quick to mention that, although Alex is caring, he is guided by logic, not emotions, when problem-solving. It’s a trait that sets him apart from the rest of the Runaways family.
“I love that [Alex] has a strong sense of what’s right and wrong,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if he’s going up against what he thinks are insurmountable odds, he’s going to try because that’s what’s right. He understands justice. He understands that, even though these are his parents, and it’s troubling to him, and he doesn’t want to accept it, he knows what needs to be done, needs to be done.”
Cast members Brigid Brannagh, Ever Carradine, Zayne Emory, Brittany Ishibashi, Julian McMahon, Kip Pardue, Angel Parker, Ryan Sands, Kevin Weisman, Annie Wersching and James Yaegashi were also present at the event. Other attendees included Libe Barer, Rachel Bilson, Cheryl Burke, Siddartha Khosla, Graham Rogers, and more.
As the red carpet moment drew to a close, the stars made their way past the fans hollering for autographs and onward into the movie theatre for the viewing of the show they worked so hard for. “About the show—it’s never what you expect,” said Rhenzy, shortly before heading inside. “Always expect something different from what you’re seeing at the moment.”