Drew Pearce Talks RUNAWAYS Movie, the Similarities between the Comic and His Script, What He Would Do with Joss Whedon’s Run, and More

     February 7, 2014


I was a big fan of the Marvel Comics series Runaways.  Created by Brian K. Vaughan, the series focused on a group of teenagers who runaway when they discover that their parents are a group of supervillains known as “The Pride”.  As the kids try to find their way, they stumble upon surprising aspects of their birthrights.  It’s a great story about adolescence intertwined with Marvel Universe staples such as aliens, mutants, and magic.  Over three years ago, Drew Pearce was hired to write the screenplay based on the success of his superhero parody series, No Heroics.  The project seemed like it was gearing up for production, but then it went into stasis as The Avengers became the studio’s big “team” movie.

Pearce went on to co-write Iron Man 3, and now he’s written and directed the latest Marvel One-Shot, All Hail the King.  During our conversation, we geeked out a bit over Runaways, and he told me how his script compared to the comic, how it could be The Godfather of the Marvel Universe (in terms of families and a crime syndicate), how he would use Joss Whedon‘s run from the comics, and more.  Hit the jump to check out the interview.  All Hail the King will be available on the Blu-ray for Thor: The Dark World, which hits shelves on February 25th.  Click here to pre-order.

drew-pearceDuring the end of our interview, I turned the discussion towards Runaways, and he told me that at his very first meeting with Marvel, he said he wanted to do it:

DREW PEARCE: I adore the comics, and the first thing I ever talked to Marvel about.  In my first general meeting with Marvel, they were like, “We love No Heroics!  If there was anything you’d like to do at Marvel, what would it be?” and Runaways was at the top of my list.  I think Brian [K. Vaughan] is—often a misused word—a genius.  Saga currently shows that as well as anything else.

Getting more into specifics, I asked how the movie related to the comics, and if he was starting from the first arc or jumping into the middle of the series:

PEARCE: So yeah, I had used the first arc as my template.  It’s a hugely cinematic arc.  I can’t really comment on how I used the twist, but I think thus far you can see from some of the stuff I’ve done I do quite like a twist.  You can definitely presume that some of the zig-zagging that goes on in Runaways the comic made it into the movie. 

runaways_cover_art_jo_chen_01Pearce then made a measured comparison to The Godfather, not in terms of “This would be one of the all-time classics of cinema,” but in terms of a crime family relating to a real family:

PEARCE: But I think the big difference being that—as grandiose as it sounds—cinematically I wanted it to reflect (and this is going to sound ridiculous), but for me, Runaways can be The Godfather of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  And The Pride in my version were an even more branded crime syndicate.  I think if you then look at the arcs and character twists you were talking about, and that lineage, it’s in a very analogous way. 

He then expanded it to how the movie would reflect other superhero films:

PEARCE: Plus, what I think is so original about Runaways is that it takes sort of the Spider-Man conceit of “With great power comes great responsibility” and I actually played that out on the other side of the fence.  The kids realize that through the misuse of power by their parents, and then have to find their own journey like it’s a mirror of that.  I think there is nothing like it in the world, in the world of superhero comics and in superhero movies.  And I think it could be brilliant.  As you can hear, I’m so deeply passionate about it, and I have no idea whether or not it gets made. 

Finally, for those who don’t know, Joss Whedon did a brief run on the comics, and since Whedon is obviously now a major player at Marvel Studios, I asked if the two had ever talked about the comics:

PEARCE: No, actually.  I never have.  Whenever I see him, he is rushing down a corridor to a vis-effects meeting for one or another Avengers movie, and I’m slightly walking less busily in the other direction, and we say, “Hello.”  It’s not actually something we’ve talked about.  His run on the comic would definitely be a contender for third in the movie trilogy you would do with Runaways when it starts to get deeply cosmic and time travel becomes more of an expansive part of the story.  And I love what he did with it.  If anyone’s going to take over for BKV, it has to be Joss Whedon.


  • Connor

    Yes!!! I read Runaways in High School (not the entire run, but a fair amount of it) and I’ve been dying for a film adaptation! It would be fantastic fun, in the right hands.


    that would be awesome. i hope that they don’t get rid of drew pierce because of the backlash to iron man 3. he’s clearly very passionate and knowledgable about a lot of these comics, it would be really cool to see him handle some of the lesser known comic characters in the future

    • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

      Agree with you 100% but I really doubt they would get rid of him because they wouldn’t have let him do the twist in the first place if they didn’t know what they were getting into. Now, as you say he’s passionate and knowledgable, it shows even in the Mandarin twist! I read somewhere that among the many incarnations of the villain, there was one that was quite similar to how Killian was portrayed in the movie: no rings (cause he had his hands chopped off) and fighting mano a mano with Iron Man. I think Pearce is a great addition to the MCU and I hope someday see a movie written by him, Shane Black and Joss Whedon, that would surely kick ass and have some seriously explosive dialog!

  • JBug

    Runaways would be great. I get nervous when they start referencing the Godfather or Spiderman because Runaways is a project that has the potential to be really fresh. I wouldn’t want it to use the framework of any other movie no matter how iconic they are. Be bold!

    Chronicle was great because of its fresh factor.

  • God’s Diamond

    First joss says the Godfather 2 was kind of an influence on avengers 2, now Pearce says the pride can be like the Godfather of the marvel universe. As long as no one mentions Godfather 3 and the whole incest thing I’m good hahah. I like runaways especially Nico Minor so hopefully this will come to fruition

    • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño


  • Heather

    Whedon’s run on Runaways was God awful, like everything else he does.

    • Diego Fernando Salazar Proaño

      I will not attack you or your opinion for one single reason: I’m really curious to know the reasons you think that!
      PS: Also, because I don’t like to attack anyone who thinks differently :)…. Only when they talk a bunch of unsustained crap!

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