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Marvel: Bringing the Runaways to Hulu is a mistake

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Marvel is bringing another one of their comic book properties to life. This time, it will come in the form of the Runaways, and the show will air on Hulu. The show marks the latest advancement of the expanding MCU, which is short for the Marvel Cinematic Universe for those who do not know.

The Runaways are a group of kids who are the children of a group of super villains.  It has been a property that was rumored to be under consideration for a film, but those plans apparently changed. The teens will be joining forced with one another on Hulu at some point in the future.

Hulu marks the fifth different “channel” to feature an MCU property. The entire universe got kick started in the movies when Robert Downey Jr took the role of Tony Stark and began the ball rolling for the Avengers. As time went along, ABC brought us the ‘Agents of Shield’, reviving the dead Agent Coulson. Since that time, Netflix has become the hot spot for some of Marvel’s darker and grittier shows, playing host to the likes of ‘Daredevil’, ‘Jessica Jones’, ‘Luke Cage’ later this year, and eventually ‘Iron Fist’. Freeform will be bringing us ‘Cloak and Dagger’ at some point in 2017.

While the expansion of the MCU is exciting, the introduction of Hulu is not a wise move. And it has to do with what makes Marvel so good: everything being connected.

Every time Marvel adds a new channel or network for one of their properties, the closer they get to making things over complicated. Every network has their head people who will be involved in making decisions, and the more of those people you add to the mix, the more likely things get messy. It is the classic case of too many cooks in the kitchen.

Hulu representatives are going to want certain things out of their new show. Meanwhile, Netflix will want to use certain characters and storylines. The same goes for ‘Agents of Shield’ and eventually ‘Cloak and Dagger’. And given they all exist within the same universe, they all need to follow the same continuity. Spreading things out like Marvel has done just sets up for plenty of headaches and questions.

It also means each show/film will be limited from utilizing certain characters. Fans will be asking why Daredevil or Luke Cage did not come to help the Runaways if they show up in New York. Or why hasn’t Agent Coulson and the team come to help when a major event happened. Fans will be asking questions, and the expansion of different networks will be the only answer to the universe that is supposed to be totally connected.

And to just add salt to the wound, Marvel already has had a ton of success with Netflix. So why bother bringing in a new streaming service for one of your shows? When it was announced that Daredevil and the rest of the Defenders would be headed to the streaming service, I felt it was a must to get it as a huge Marvel fan. But with the Runaways, I do not have that same feeling, despite having an interest in the concept.

As a college kid who is not flush with cash, paying for one streaming service is enough. I do not want to pay for a second one just because there is one Marvel show on it. I love Marvel, and I want to watch as much of the MCU content as I possibly can. But paying for a second streaming service is simply not worth it.

Now if the show were on Netflix, I would be all over it. It would guarantee an eventual cameo from one of the other characters on the service. It would likely have the same gritty tone that makes those shows so successful. And it would not require another streaming service to be paid for.

So I just scratch my head as to why this promising show has been added to Hulu. It is a new and interesting concept that is sure to have a fun feel to it. So I am not saying the show is a bad idea by any means. The mistake comes in the form of not having it on Netflix or ABC right alongside another Marvel property.

Part of what makes Marvel so special is having such a large universe that all intertwines. But by expanding things out more and more, it threatens to undercut that entire idea. Sure they will likely make reference to the Avengers once or twice, but overall the show is at risk of feeling entirely disconnected from the rest of the universe. The Netflix shows suffer from this a bit, but they at least have one another to bounce off of. Giving them that larger universe feel. The Runaways will not have that crutch to lean on. At the end of the day, the Runaways will simply have nowhere to run.

I love Marvel, but this is not a smart move.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at robert.cobb@theinscribermag.com