Chances are longtime television viewers will recognize many of the performers who play the villainous parents on Marvel’s new Hulu series, Runaways, from James Marsters (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) to Annie Wersching (24). But what about the series’ teenage heroes? A mix of newcomers and experienced talent, the six actors who bring to life Molly Hernandez (Allegra Acosta), Gert Yorkes (Ariela Barer), Nico Minoru (Lyrica Okano), Karolina Dean (Virginia Gardner), Alex Wilder (Rhenzy Feliz), and Chase Stein (Gregg Sulkin) should soon become well known as well.
Not only do the six young cast members of Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Strange’s adaptation of the cult-favorite book created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona look almost precisely like their comic book counterparts, their ability to bring their respective characters to life is uncanny. More than finding someone who looks exactly like Alex or Gert, Savage remarks “it’s finding the actor that you think can embody the essential qualities of the character.” We caught up with the Runaways cast at the 2017 New York Comic Con to ask them about their characters and the prospect of leading one of Marvel’s most diverse superhero teams.
Although Alex is as much the leader of this Runaways team as he was in the comics, the show leans heavily on the fact that this is a female-majority group. This definitely sets the series apart from everything else that has come before it. What’s that been like?
Lyrica Okano: It’s much needed. I think this show is coming at a very good time. It brings me joy thinking that young girls — and young boys — can watch Runaways and see powerful teenagers going through the same stuff they are. Sure they have these superpowers, but they’re also learning how to trust each other, work together and achieve a similar goal. I think that’s awesome.
Allegra Acosta: I feel like, because it hasn’t been done before, there is a bit more responsibility with the storytelling. Because when there is less representation out there, it’s a little harder to present a flawed character because you can accidentally misrepresent an entire group. I think that was something I was worried about going into this, that it would turn into catfights between the girls and stuff like that. I can 100% tell you it is not like that. Everyone has been given such well-rounded, deeply human characters to work with. There are no shallow, unprompted catfights or anything like that. Everything is so warranted in the story.
Virginia Gardner: I think it’s exactly what we need right now. Like she said, it’s coming at a really great time. Hopefully, being on a show with a mostly female cast will help us inspire younger generations. It’s also such a diverse group that tries to represent those who need more representation right now. I think that’s really amazing. A lot of this show is about young people questioning authority, and I think that message is something we need right now, more than anything.
Ariela Barer: Also, what I love is that Josh and Stephanie created female characters who are extremely eloquent and intelligent, and who represent a really badass group of females who could take over the world when put together. It’s amazing, and, yes, there is some pressure with that because we’re portraying these specific comic book characters too. Plus, since me and Allegra are the first two Latina superheroes — not the first two Latina superheroes ever — it’s amazing to get the chance to represent this group without being the typical stereotype of the sassy, curvy girl. Instead, we’re an example of how strong, powerful, intelligent and passionate we can be.
Speaking of Josh and Stephanie, let’s talk about them. There’s obviously the Marvel connection to consider, but they bring a wealth of experience from shows like The O.C. and Gossip Girl to Runaways. What was it like to work with them?