How THE AVENGERS Killed The Film Adaptation Of Marvel’s “Runaways”

Tonight will mark the premier of Agents Of SHIELD, Marvel Studios first expansion of their cinematic interconnected universe of superhero franchises into television. It seems ironic then that we also mark another potential expansion of the universe being put on the shelf.

Screenwriter Drew Pearce’s adaptation of the Marvel Comics series Runaways, about a group of teenagers who discover that their parents are actually supervillains, has been put on the back back burner, and Pearce states that it is the fault of a little movie called The Avengers. Speaking with Jeff Goldsmith on his podcast The Q & A, which was being recorded following a screening of Iron Man 3 which Pearce also wrote for the studio, he explained –

We were really close to being made, and then this movie started to happen called The Avengers. Oddly, it pulled focus from the unheard-of brand Runaways, and it really did kind of consume the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s there, maybe it’ll be a Phase Three movie, I really hope so, I’m really proud of it and I think it’ll be a brilliant film, but I think it all depends what Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel, what his master plan is.

This is an expansion of what Pearce stated back in August 2011 about Runaways being on hold at Marvel at least until the then-in-production The Avengers was finished. Pearce had been working on the film with Nick And Nora’s Infinite Playlist director Peter Sollet.

Iron Man 3 director Shane Black also piped in to say that he thought that the Runaways script was “one of the better screenplays that’s sitting on a shelf somewhere.” Black’s reaction is not surprising considering it was on the strength of his Runaways script that Pearce was brought on to write Iron Man 3 with Black.

The pair did go on to mention that it is still possible that the film could be made as part of the studio’s “Phase Three” plans, those films that wouldn’t come out until after The Avengers: Age Of Ultron is released in the summer of 2015, and which, outside of director Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man there is no concrete information about.

Still, it is a shame to see that there the Runaways adaptation is, at least for now, dead in the water. It was one of the few Marvel Comics that I consistently read in the last 15 years or so and I think that it lends itself towards a different kind of superhero film than the ones we have been seeing all these years. I understand that Marvel has to strike a balance between continuing with their known franchises like Iron Man and Captain America and injecting new and potentially risky films into their release schedule. Looking at the Phase Two films scheduled for over the next couple of years, I would say that James Gunn’s Guardians Of The Galaxy coming next year is definitely Marvel’s Phase Two risk. Hopefully Feige will see his way to take a chance on Runaways at some point in the future.

Via Hollywood Reporter.

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About Rich Drees 6964 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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