Executive Produced by showrunners/writers Josh Schwartz & Stephanie Savage and Marvel’s Head of TV Jeph Loeb, the Hulu series Runaways is back for Season 2 with higher stakes and greater danger, as this group of teenagers who realized their parents were evil have now left their homes and are learning to live on their own and take care of each other while working to take down PRIDE. At the same time, PRIDE is looking to find their children, and a secret plan has been set in motion that might lead to betrayal from one of their own.
While at a junket held on the set for The Hostel, an underground dilapidated mansion that the runaways take shelter in this season, co-stars Angel Parker (“Catherine Wilder”), Ryan Sands (“Geoffrey Wilder”), Annie Wersching (“Leslie Dean”), Kip Pardue (“Frank Dean”), Brigid Brannagh (“Stacey Yorkes”), Kevin Weisman (“Dale Yorkes”), Ever Carradine (“Janet Stein”), James Marsters (“Victor Stein”) and James Yaegashi (“Robert Minoru”) spoke to a small group of outlets at roundtable interviews, and Brittany Ishibashi (“Tina Minoru”) spoke to Collider by phone, about the evolution for their characters, how the parents all share the common goal of getting their kids to come back home, exploring the family dynamics, the delicate dance of committing villainous acts, and avoiding evil stereotypes.
Question: What are the biggest shifts with your characters, this season?
ANGEL PARKER: I feel like the conflict is gone. The kids have run away, and we’re not conflicted. We have one main goal, and that is to find them, by any means necessary. In Season 1, there was a little bit of torment, especially with the sacrifices, but that’s all gone now. We’re pure evil. Well, I am. I think I’ve crossed a line. I have to take things into my own hands ‘cause he can’t get things done.
RYAN SANDS: Geoffrey is a big teddy bear. He’s a big, bald teddy bear. Catherine has her own ideas for the way things need to happen and then the time frame in which they need to happen. Geoffrey’s got some plans, too. He’s got things in motion, but she’s impatient. It’s a very interesting dynamic. Last season, I felt that we were very unified in our goal. This season, we have the same goal and we’re moving in the same direction, but we’re moving about it a little differently now. That aspect is really fun to play, especially because the rest of PRIDE can’t know that we have a little something going on.
PARKER: We maintain a unified front, but we are not unified at home. That’s been great to play, but it’s not great for the home life.
KIP PARDUE: At the end of Season 1, Frank learned a lot of stuff that he didn’t wanna know. The one true thing in Frank’s life was his family. The one thing that he could believe in, more than anything else, was his wife, his kid, and the Church, and all of that is turned on its side now. Coming into Season 2, I thought that there were two distinct paths that Frank could go down, but what the writers came up with was unbelievable. As many questions as I had, leaving Season 1, I had just as many, through Season 2. Frank is in a really tough spot, in a great way. It’s morally ambiguous, nothing is true, North is South, and up is down. It’s wild, but it takes him down a path that’s undeniable.
ANNIE WERSCHING: In Season 2, we start a little bit apart, and then it seems like we’re gonna come back together, but then things happen. It was definitely different than I thought it was gonna be. Leslie has lived her whole life believing in the Church and Jonah (Julian McMahon), and keeping him alive, and all of that is different now. With the finale of Season 1, where it seemed to her that Jonah was really willing to kill Karolina, it’s a completely new ball game for her. All she wants is to take Jonah down, but that’s so connected to the Church. Now that she wants him gone, things are very different. She sees things much clearer now.
PARDUE: It’s easier to not have any answers, and to figure it out as you go. Now that we know, how do we react with that information? There is a real sense of Frank wanting to belong. There’s a real sense of naivete with Frank, just completely being underestimated, that’s legitimate. He’s really not much, but that’s also a position of power, in a weird way. He’s constantly being underestimated. As Frank gathers knowledge this season, he uses that to his advantage. Nobody thinks that he’s capable of doing much of anything, and nobody takes him super seriously. Leslie is very dismissive. Frank is just the window dressing. That can be a really sad place to be, or it can be a really powerful place to be. When faced with the reality of this Church doing evil things, you can focus on the evil things, or you can focus on all of the good that the Church did. Maybe there’s something there for Frank to dig his teeth into, even deeper than Leslie was capable of doing. Leslie’s focus was always Jonah, and maybe she’s missing the forest for the trees, a little bit.
KEVIN WEISMAN: In all seriousness, Stacey and Dale joined PRIDE thinking they were gonna cure the issue, as scientists. And then, they meet Jonah and quickly realize that’s not the case.
BRIGID BRANNAGH: It’s like realizing that the loan was from the mob.
WEISMAN: And like the mob, they’re so far in that they can’t get out. And now, their kids are also on the run, and that’s their main priority. The stakes are much higher, in Season 2.
EVER CARRADINE: You get to see a lot of Janet. You get to see her reflect on who she was, and really put what she’s good at to use, and her own schooling and training and scientific mind. You’ll see her find her voice and her next phase. Janet kicks ass. She’s super smart. It’s a really fun season for me. I had a lot of fun.
JAMES MARSTERS: It was nice, last season, to see how they met and what that connection was. Victor is a lot like me. You can be as beautiful as you wanna be, but unless you’re also smart, skin deep beauty reveals itself, very quickly. Janet is every bit as smart as Victor. The IQ comes from the mother, so the fact that Chase is as smart as he is, doesn’t actually come from Victor, it comes from Janet.
JAMES YAEGASHI: This season is a lot of fun because it’s a season where we get to see an evolution of Robert, and certainly a lot of different colors than what we saw in Season 1. It’s an interesting examination of what circumstances do to people and how it takes them out of their comfort zone. What’s the price for that? It’s been a lot of fun doing that stuff, this season.
BRITTANY ISHIBASHI: Over the course of the first season, it was fun to get to know why Tina had put all of these walls up, and was so guarded and mean. It was wonderful, episode by episode, to see what the writers put in. You could see the little cracks in her facade, and all of the hurt and pain that she couldn’t deal with, and you understood why she had put herself in this emotional fortress. I think it’s really fun, going into Season 2, now that all of us feel a lot more established in our characters and we feel more comfortable. It’s really fun to see all of the colors that are coming out now. I think all of us were very excited with the pace and how quickly things were coming at us. It just immediately felt like a bigger, bolder show. Emotionally, it was really fun to see. The second season is all about every kid eventually becoming their parents. As a parent, knowing that eventually your kids are gonna come into their own power, but not really being ready for it, especially for Tina and Nico, it’s this whole power struggle. Tina doesn’t want to give up or relinquish her power. Just because her daughter is coming into her own power doesn’t mean that she has to give up hers. That’s a really fun thing that we get to play with, over the course of Season 2.