One of the reasons that Runaways has been so interesting is the general lack of comic source material. The runs of the series have been small and so most who know the property know essentially one or two story arcs. This has led to a lot of attention to the ways it has shifted the source material and the ways it has remained the same. An obvious early decision was to get rid of the Hayes/Hernandez parents. Molly is also no longer a mutant, because of Marvel’s rights issues. Now, in an interview with EW, Kip Pardum is sharing some shifts in their source material.
Some of the things you have to do to make a TV show work and some of the things you do because you have poetic license. One of the things that they had to do was pull Frank and Leslie both back to Earth literally. We’re not aliens, we have different power. We have this power of influence this power of being able to suck people into our web, so to speak, but Frank is a little bit different. He’s on a little bit different path throughout the entire season — being on the outside looking into Pride.
This is a fascinating change that hasn’t been revealed yet on the show. It brings up several questions immediately. If they aren’t aliens, then do the parents have the same powers as Karolina? If so, what is the source of the material? They can’t be Inhumans, unless the Church of the Gibborim has a collection of Terrigen in the basement. They can’t be mutants, again rights issues. Did all three go through an experiment? Have the Gibborim given them a special power? Does Frank know he has powers if he isn’t part of the Pride? My guess would be that the powers of the family somehow are connected with the story behind their cult, with all the talk of light. Also, this would seem to suggest that some later plots and characters in the comics are unlikely to come to fruition.
Kip also is asked in general about the connection with the source material. His answer is pretty much what any viewer or reader already knows but it shows that the cast has thought about these things.
I know the fans will be happy. I think the look and the feel of it is spot on. The core of what this comic is about is good versus evil, parents versus kids, finding out that there’s really bad, bad stuff happening in the world. All the changes that have been made have been all for the better, and in fact, Brian K. Vaughan said that same thing to me. He’s been in the writer’s room the whole time and he said, “I always secretly hoped that someone would make Runaways even better and I think Josh and Steph have done that.” All the things that people loved about the comics are there: Old Lace is there, Karolina’s abilities are there, the fistigons are there, the parents are evil. All the changes that have been made I think fans will fall in love with and this will become the new narrative. As great as the comic is and as important as it has been, this will be the new telling of it, and I think everyone will understand why these changes have been made and it makes for a better story, one that can last a lot longer.
Throughout the process, Brian K. Vaughn has been very involved. Fans might not like all the changes but they can hardly complain that it dishonors Vaughn’s original vision. If anything, it sounds like Vaughn sees this show as a fuller version of his original vision than the comic! His presence in the writing room and on set is one of the reasons that this show is so special.
What do you think about the lack of alien origins for the Deans? Does this limit the show down the road? Share your thoughts in the comments below. Also, head over to EW for the full interview with more thoughts on the character of Frank in Runaways.