We had the luxury of interviewing the cast of Marvel’s RUNAWAYS at New York Comic Con 2017. Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, Allegra Acosta, Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage, and Jeff Loeb could not have been more amazing!

Here’s a transcript of the New York Comic Con interview with the cast and producers of Marvel’s RUNAWAYS!

ComicsVerse: ComicsVerse is live from New York Comic Con 2017 with the cast of RUNAWAYS. So, what can you tell us about your character Rhenzy?

Rhenzy Feliz: Alex Wilder, he’s a little bit of a nerd. Little bit of a loner, but what he wants to do is reunite his group of friends that he’s had his entire life. And so certain events happen, there’s a sacrifice, end of episode one, and it brings them all together and they have to, you know, come together against an enemy that happens to be their parents, which happen to be supervillains.

Gregg Sulkin: Well Chase is a lacrosse player, but has untapped flashes of brilliance when it comes to engineering. And so, obviously, for those who have read the comics, we’ve changed him a little bit. We’ve made him a bit more interesting to watch, a bit more layered, and I think throughout the first season we have a beautiful arc between, obviously, Chase and Gert. Love interests. And then we have a beautiful family story, that isn’t so beautiful but told in a beautiful way. Which is he does not get along with his dad whatsoever, and he’s in a bit of a… sticky/difficult situation at home. So you’re gonna see that revealed throughout the season. Obviously, I can’t talk about too much, because there’s a Marvel guy over there with a laser pointing at me if I talk about too much.

Allegra Acosta: Molly’s this big ball of energy. She’s super curious. She’s passionate, she’s driven, she’s determined. She is young. She’s still super mature and very observant and aware. I think that’s really important for Molly. Before I even auditioned for this, I didn’t know what I was going in for because of Marvel being so top secret. Once I booked it, and I knew what it was about, I immediately read the first comic book. I fell in love with how Brian K. Vaughan is such a visionary and he modernized something that he wrote such a long time ago. And I was obsessed with Molly. So, I prepared with her by definitely looking at the comic books and putting a lot of myself into Molly to make her as relatable as possible.

Virginia Gardner: Think it’s pretty similar to the comic version. I definitely think fans of the comic book won’t be disappointed. However, I do think that the comic books are written several years ago. So it’s a modern/today’s version of what’s written several years ago, with obviously some tweaks to keep fans excited and unsure of what’s to come. I think the spirit of comic books is there.

Ariela Barer: So Gert’s like this badass feminist chick and she’s… I think the thing I love the most about her is this- you get to dive into what feminism truly means to a young girl and this passion for a better world and this want for a better life for people despite any personal beef. Despite anything like that she is overall about the cause and she can put her personal problems aside for a minute and be like “you know what, I’m fighting for your rights and I can’t be a hypocrite about this.

Lyrica Okano: What got me- well Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, their names attached to the project was, you know, also a good reason to audition for this. And Marvel, I’m not gonna pass that up. But also… I mean we- for the audition I didn’t get a script. Even the sides were never gonna be used in the show. And her name was changed, so it was a lot of guessing. But from what I read from the sides it seemed like an interesting project, and they specifically asked for a Japanese American to play- to audition for this role so I just thought “cool.”

Josh Schwartz: For me, personally, RUNAWAYS has always been my favorite comic. First time I read it I was like “I don’t know who Brian K. Vaughan is, but this guy is speaking to me. This is my people.” And we went in to meet with Marvel, obviously, we are partners and this wasn’t going to work unless Stephanie loved the comic as much as I did. So I said, “please read this.”

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Stephanie Savage: And I read it and I fell in love. I’m not a comic book reader naturally, but I really fell in love with the world Brian and Adrian created. The diversity of the characters, the strong female characters, the great cliffhangers at the end of every episode, and his incredible voice that just had so much humor and heart.

Jeff Loeb: You know, I think what made the show so unique was what made the comic so unique, which was the- You know, Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, you know, came up with a story that, at the time, which is hard to believe it was fifteen years ago, really spoke to a generation in a way that hadn’t ever been spoken to. It was incredibly diverse. There were really strong female characters. At the same time it, you know, that problem of trying to find your identity and the problem of being able to separate yourself from your parents was a universal theme.

And being able to take that and put it in the capable hands of Josh and Stephanie, you know, who have through THE O.C., through GOSSIP GIRL found a way of speaking to that generation in a unique way. It really does give us an opportunity to be able to tell a story like we’ve never done before, you know? Not just young heroes but young music and at the same time being able to tell a story from the parents’ point of view, so that you’re caught up in a way that no matter how old you are you’re just not entirely sure which side you’re on. And that’s a very exciting place to be.

ComicsVerse: How much reading did you do prior to taking on…

Rhenzy Feliz: I read the entire first volume, up until where I die. And so right there I decided to cut it. I was like “alright maybe that’s all I need to know.” Just to help me understand the character and where the source material was but then after that, I also didn’t want it- cause the script is a little different than the comic book, otherwise why would we do it? So I didn’t want it to interfere too much, but I read all of the first volume and continued with the series and just played with it from there.

Allegra Acosta: We definitely stay true to the comics for sure, but we kind of make it more modernized and in like an open range, and it takes it to different levels and you go through every single character. You learn more about them and their personal lives, and the comic book- you do learn a lot about them but I feel like we’re up close in their face so you can see everything we’re feeling and thinking, which is the most amazing about TV magic, you know?

Virginia Gardner: We all get along so well as a cast. We have really great chemistry, all six of us, so I think that’s such a fun aspect of it. And I also think that the added storyline of the parents and what they have going on is such a welcome storyline, and so much fun too. And we’re not on set for a lot of the parent’s stuff. So I know when I watch it back I get really excited to see their storylines as well.

Josh Schwartz: You know this idea of “every teenager thinks their parents are evil, what if your parents actually are?” Who can’t relate to that, you know? So it’s started just from a great sort of universal idea that sort of resonates with whether it’s a comic book story or not about parents and teenagers. But then, as Stephanie was saying, Brian’s voice. I mean the characters are so distinct. There’s so much humor, the pop culture references it all just felt like our world and so modern and that felt like an exciting story to tell.

Stephanie Savage: Yeah I think the modernity of the characters- there are four female characters in the young Runaways and two guys, which you know usually it would be the reverse of that. It felt so contemporary with the references and the voice and just the things that the kids had to say. What they were interested in, what they were curious about, their points of view.

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Jeff Loeb: It’s one of those things where we’re hoping that people, you know, watch the first two hours. The first hour is the kid’s point of view. The second hour is from the parents’ point of view. By the end of the second hour, you really have a sense of “wow, I’m not really sure which side I’m on.” There are so many mystery boxes to open! Oh, and by the way, there’s a dinosaur!

ComicsVerse: How important is this show for a younger female audience, as well as the diverse cast that RUNAWAYS has?

Ariela Barer: The great thing about diversity on this large of a scale, it’s not like one token character. Because tokenism can be flawed when one person has to represent an entire group of people. There’s no way that’s gonna be done accurately. Then, any flaw can be portrayed as a flaw within said demographic. And it can get really messy really fast. So to have such diversity, and in such large quantities, is so exciting because you can dive deeper into the nuance of a person without actually having the pressure of misrepresenting anyone. You can show these people and have the audience have empathized with them in a new way.

Allegra Acosta: We’re an ethnically diverse, female-centric cast, like what better way to represent what we need right now? With our political stance, I think it’s important to have a broad spectrum of ethnicities, a broad spectrum of female powers. I think it shows we can be our own voice. We can be our own heroes so I’m just really excited about that. My favorite aspect of Molly is what a badass she is! She’s, like, learning and, like, developing, and I think she’s — since all them are kinda grown up you kinda see her grow throughout every single episode, which is insane.

Jeff Loeb: We wanted to start to explore the idea of the young hero. So many of the Marvel stories are about adults who suddenly have their lives turned upside down by the fact that they’ve had powers thrust upon them and then how are they going to deal with that. And that works, even if you’re in a situation where you’re young people and so — but the difference is you’re still trying to figure out your life and you don’t know who you are or where you’re going to be or even whether or not you’re going to get your homework done.

Then you marry that to an extraordinary situation, and I think you have something which is extraordinary, but you always have to remember to keep your ground and keep it locked down and make sure that our characters are characters that people really can identify with. And I think this cast, in many ways, allows that to happen.

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ComicsVerse: Why should people watch RUNAWAYS?

Gregg Sulkin: I would say RUNAWAYS is a mix between THE O.C./GOSSIP GIRL, in a Marvel Universe, and has a glossy darkness that no other Marvel show has.

Lyrica Okano: It’s the RUNAWAYS. If you haven’t read the comic books already you should do that, and then you’ll want to watch the show. And it’s gonna be so cool. Everyone- I love everybody in the cast and it’s gonna be a great time.

Rhenzy Feliz: It’s got it all. What doesn’t it have? It’s got excitement, it’s Marvel, it’s got the action-packed, it’s got teenagers.  If you like ‘em, it’s got parents, and secrets and lies and twists and turns. It’s very exciting.

Virginia Gardner: Why shouldn’t you watch the RUNAWAYS?

Josh Schwartz: RUNAWAYS is woke.

Meet the cast of Marvel’s RUNAWAYS: Photo Gallery

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