Shortly after the original Iron Man proved its superhero might at the box office, Marvel Studios announced plans to bring Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona's comic book series, Runaways, to the big screen. Five years later, a third Iron Man is arriving on DVD and Blu-ray, but plans for the super-powered teens have seemingly fallen by the wayside. In a new conversation with screenwriter Drew Pearce (who drafted Runaways and then went on to script Iron Man 3), The Hollywood Reporter has learned one of the chief reasons the film never came to be was because focus shifted to Marvel's The Avengers.
"We were really close to being made, and then this movie started to happen called 'The Avengers,'" Pearce tells the outlet. "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."
First published as an 18-issue series beginning in 2003, Runaways follows a group of teenagers who find that some family secrets are bigger than others when they discover their parents are actually super-villains. Running away from their homes, the teens band together and begin a journey of discovery, both of their parents' origins and of their own inherited powers, while trying to make up for the evil done by their folks.
The big screen isn't the only place where the teen superhero team has had trouble. Following the original 18-issue comic book series, Vaughan returned for a further 24 issues of an ongoing run. Marvel's The Avengers helmer Joss Whedon then took over the book for six-issue arc and the series was subsequently relaunched in 2008 and cancelled in 2009 after 14 issues.