Marvel's Phase Three: 'Doctor Strange,' 'Iron Man 4,' 'Hulk,' 'Inhumans' or 'Runaways' on horizon? -- EXCLUSIVE

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Runaways

This cult-favorite comic book series (created in 2003) follows a group of super-powered kids who discover that their parents are actually diabolical villains and turn against them. Marvel Studios came very, very close to producing a film version.

The series’ creator, Brian K. Vaughn, was working on a script, with plans to start production in 2011. Directors and cast were being considered. Then the title was delayed as screenwriter Drew Pearce was brought in to do a re-write.

Unfortunately, the characters didn’t fit in with Marvel’s Phase One plan to have all its movies build to The Avengers. Runaways was put on indefinite hold — and remains there.

“It’s a matter of where it fits,” Feige says. “The way the business is working now, you either have really inexpensive, sort of surprise movies that can come out and be hits, but don’t cost much. Or you have the big giant summer blockbusters that really swing for the fences. Right now, we’re just swinging for the fences every time. Runaways sort of falls in between those, in a way. We just haven’t found where or how to do it… right now.”

It wasn’t a problem with the script. Feige and the Marvel crew liked Pearce’s draft well enough to hire him to co-write Iron Man 3. “It’s worked out for Drew,” Feige says. “And for us, because he did such a good job on Iron Man.”

There’s still a remote possibility of a movie, especially since Joss Whedon — Marvel maestro extraordinaire — is a fan of the series and wrote an arc for the comic books a few years ago. Maybe when his Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Avengers 2 slate is clear …?

As for what the studio boss says about the future for a Runaways movie? Feige shrugs apologetically. “I’d love to do it someday,” he says.

Unfortunately, “someday” isn’t very definite.

NEXT PAGE: Marvel Zombies

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