Marvel’s television and cinematic divisions don’t exactly bode well for each other. Although both have a primary objective of making Marvel superheroes look cool and milk the cash out of them, The Marvel Cinematic Universe chooses to overlook the other while the latter seldom mentions them in their episodes. With Marvel’s Runaways already streaming in Netflix, people are enthusiastic about the inter arm rivalry between the two will finally end. That the TV shows and the movies will finally converge into one big happy family. Will their dreams ever materialize into something tangible or is it all just fool’s gold?
Marvel green-lighted Hulu on The Runaways which is wowing the viewers as we speak. Officially, they belong to the shared continuity of the ever-expanding MCU. But the ragtag group of teenage superheroes is far from joining the Avengers and fighting Thanos in their upcoming Infinity War saga. Think of the MCU as a skyscraper. The upper floors are the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The lower ones are the televised universe. And there is no way (as of now) for people to change floors coz the lift is broken. Both the divisions operate in a fixed continuity in their own private versions of the MCU. While the cinematic one is more grandiose in general, the television universe tends to portray heroes and villains with a more grounded, down to earth approach.
Up until now, both of them have not shared a narrative or plotline to include the other. Marvel’s Runaways is not liable to change the status quo either. The Runaways are NOT going to join the Avengers.
Hulu’s TV show is based on Marvel’s critically acclaimed Runaways story arc. When a group of children realize their parents are part of an organization of supervillains called the Pride and they are expected to take their parents’ place in the group in the future, the children reject their destiny and run away (hence the name).
The story deals with the children dealing with their newfound powers and abilities and trying to stop their parents from doing more harm. Common teenage issues are also a prime focus of the show which set the story line apart from the rest.
The Avengers are a group of well known powerful superheroes who help save the entire planet now and then from world ending calamities. After fighting off Loki and Ultron, the Avengers will now face Thanos and his Black Order who come to Earth looking for the Infinity Stones. It is easy to discern why the Runaways and the Avengers won’t mix. The tone of their stories is light-years apart.
Although the question of a shared cinematic-televised universe is out of the loop, that doesn’t mean the Television universe can’t do crossovers of its own. Marvel’s TV shows have The Defenders, Agents of Shield and now The Runaways. They have their own superhero teams that can be used to explore a crossover arc. Runaways won’t ever cross paths with the Avengers but they can still join hands with Shield or the Defenders in the future. And if the powers that be agree, maybe even a version of the Avengers suited for the small screens.
The Runaways have teamed up with the Young Avengers in the comics in Civil War: Young Avengers/Runaways. The movie Civil War has already happened but we never saw it affect the TV shows in a major way. So such a crossover doesn’t make any sense now. The comics too have followed the same rout, keeping the Runaway stories far apart from the Avenger arcs. But in a certain What If…? storyline, the Runaays end up becoming the Young Avengers. Maybe just maybe… there is still hope?
In a world where major acclaimed TV shows like the Agent of Shield and The Defenders end up not crossing over with the Avengers and still be a hit among fans, why would Hulu’s Runaways follow a different route? Maybe and Avengers’ member like Doctor Strange or Hawkeye might give an appearance later on in the shows, but for now it is safe to say the TV show will only give us easter eggs to connect the dots. For now, The Runaways won’t be joining the Avengers anytime soon.