Here’s How ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ Does Diversity Right In The Superhero Comic Universe
While we’re all anxiously waiting for Hulu to renew ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ for Season 3, let’s recap all the behind-the-scenes reasons we love the show. Marvel’s Universe is ever expanding and ever more representing minorities and women in lead roles. Hulu ordered the show’s creation in August 2016, and the second season was released only a month ago.
This group of superheroes happens to find itself in Marvel Universe’s Los Angeles, specifically Griffith Park, after the teens all run away from their murderous parents’ homes. What we know from the actors themselves is that things are much more light-hearted behind the scenes.
‘Marvel’s Runaways’ is the youngest team of superheroes in Marvel’s Universe.
The characters are all teenagers, and the youngest, Molly Hernandez, played by Allegra Acosta, even celebrates her quince while on the run. Acosta only just turned 16 years old herself.
They’re the first mostly female superhero group on TV or film.
Two-thirds of the runaways are female, and they come from a much wider range of ethnic backgrounds than most other Marvel leagues. That said, all the characters are from high-end Brentwood.
Two of the actresses are Latina poderosas.
On the show, Allegra Acosta (left) and Ariela Barer (right) play sisters, though adopted. Interestingly, Ariela Barer’s character isn’t Latina.
Ariela Barer is Jewish-Mexican.
You might recognize her as Goth Carmen from “One Day at a Time,” and in “Marvel’s Runaways,” she plays a character closer to her true self: a feminist overcoming anxiety problems. Oh, and she also telepathically connects with a genetically engineered pet dinosaur.
No selfies are allowed on set without Ariela Barer.
Caption: “When she don’t know how to stop lovin on you… Also! Very important fact: @arielabarer never likes seeing me take a selfie alone, so every “selfie” I have of me on my phone has her right up in it… and I mean, EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.”
Barer and her IRL BFF used to have matching purple hair.
They even tried to start a feminist club at their school, so Barer felt very capable to play the part of Gert Stein. Barer told Brief Take that it’s actually helpful “to have things like the wig and the glasses to help me remove myself at the end of the day,” to remove herself from character.
Allegra Acosta is Tejana through and through.
Her parents immigrated from Chihuahua, Mexico, and introduced Acosta to the love of acting with “Annie.” She was just 4 years old and she locked them in the room to give her very own solo performance. She fell in love.
Her family actually moved to Los Angeles so she could follow her dreams.
Acosta was just 8 years old when she begged her parents to take her to a showcase in Los Angeles. She performed Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and one agency told her they’d take her on if she moved. Six months later, her family uprooted and moved to Los Angeles. Solid move.
Rhenzy Feliz is Dominicano and proud of it.
His character isn’t explicitly Latino either, but Feliz’ was born in The Bronx to a 21-year-old single mom. The tight-knit family moved around Florida because she didn’t want to raise him in the cold. ????
The bromance is very real.
I mean, look at this professional photography. According to Ginny Gardner, the two are obsessed with each other.
Caption: “Big brother.”
The Latinos in the show have superhuman strength.
Guest actor Jan Luis Castellanos played a role in helping Molly Hernandez feel like she has a real community, both in superhero capability and in heritage.
All the actors had to create playlists for their characters.
The directors told them to create playlists, and you can actually listen to the actor’s choices. It was all meant to get them into character.
“Marvel’s Runaways” is on Hulu because of “Handmaid’s Tale.”
TV lead Jeph Loeb did tell Polygon, “The fact that as we’re coming around the clubhouse turn with ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ erupting and becoming part of the culture is huge.” Loeb wanted something new.
Carolina is Marvel Universe’s first openly gay character.
At first, the jock was going after her and we were all here to watch her turn him down. When these two started shipping, the internet exploded.
Spoiler: the actress didn’t know her character was part alien until the rest of us did.
The actors don’t know what’s going to happen until they sit down for the table reading. Apparently, they all have their own conspiracy theories.
16. Lyrica Okano was super sick with food poisoning during this scene.
Just hours before this scene was filmed, Okano was being treated by paramedics before being on set by 5 a.m. She literally threw up between scenes.
Neither of these two are gay IRL.
Though Ariela Barer has come out as gay on Twitter. As far as we know, her character only has eyes for Chase.
The Pride ceremonies are filmed in a super old mausoleum.
The whole basement is a crypt of bodies that had been there since 1910-1930. According to Rotten Tomatoes, the actor who plays Victor Stein kept trying to freak his colleagues out by saying, “‘You know, dust is actually 99 percent human skin. We all know that. Just guess where this dust is coming from.’ But it was beautiful. We were a little freaked out by how many dead people were around us.”
The actors are all committed to representing a “bigger part of ourselves.”
Fourteen-year-old Allegra Acosta sat down with Stylecaster and had this to say about Latina stereotypes in the industry: “I’m not saying that there isn’t poverty where I’m from or in Mexico. What I’m saying is that they made my race seem like we didn’t work hard and we were always on the side of the street. I didn’t like that. We have to be responsible and represent a bigger part of ourselves.”
Plus, Barer & Feliz seem to be pretty tight with Isabella Gomez.
Caption: “Slowly turning into an amorphous blob w the one I love most ????????”
Feliz sat next to Gomez during the Season 3 release of One Day at a Time, and Goth Carmen (Ariela Barer) and Isabella Gomez are as close in real life as they are on the show.
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