Marvel's Runaways has been abruptly removed from Disney+.
Marvel’s Runaways has been removed from Disney+ and Hulu without warning. The deletion comes amidst a content purge on the streaming sites, both owned by Disney, that has included Stargirl, The Right Stuff, and original content like The World According to Jeff Goldblum, and the well-reviewed revival series Willow. But /Film reports that, while these removals were all announced prior to being deleted, the comic book-based series was cut without any announcement.
While Marvel series today are usually tied in with the MCU movies, Runaways hails from a time before Kevin Feige was tasked with governing the brand’s TV and streaming as well as feature films. Produced from 2017 to 2019, the three seasons of Runaways were part of Marvel Television, which was independent at the time. It was cut short, with a planned fourth season not produced, and has now vanished from Disney‘s digital lineup altogether.
Based on the Marvel comic of the same name from creators Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Aphona, Runaways told the story of a band of teenagers who set out on their own when they learn their parents are actually supervillains. The series was under executive producers Joe Quesada and Jeph Loeb, both comic book artists and writers who were the heads of Marvel Television at the time. Quesada also served as editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics and Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment.
As part of the earlier Marvel Television, Runaways is a lower-tier priority for Disney and the MCU, with only a few remnants of that period—such as Charlie Cox‘s Daredevil—moving forward in the future. Reduced priority plus lower audience engagement surely contributed to Disney’s decision to ax the series from streaming as it continues its cost-cutting efforts, which have included massive layoffs. Removing less popular content frees the studio, not just from the cost of hosting the media, but from paying residuals, licensing fees, and royalties associated with those properties, making them a prime target for corporate belt-tightening.
But Marvel’s Runaways lacks the physical media enjoyed by other series and films that have been on the digital chopping block, leading to some fear of the series being, at some point, lost altogether, at least in terms of public access. Echoes of HBO‘s completed but now likely completely erased Batgirl might be heard here, and it seems HBO Max (now Max) is the company that started this trend of deleting original content. But fans of the series can breathe easier knowing it is still available on other digital services like YouTube, GooglePlay, Vudu, Prime Video, and Apple TV—all for separate fees, of course.
The case of Marvel’s Runaways also resurfaces some concern about a post-physical-media consumer culture that offers fewer opportunities for viewers to build personal content libraries, with their access to media controlled by the whims of the corporations that own it. This, in turn, only gives further motivation for media piracy. So far, physical media seems to still be holding its own, and much digital media can be purchased and owned by consumers.
Still, if Marvel’s Runaways was not available on these other services, it’s an open question as to when—if ever—fans could see it again. And it still remains to be seen how long these other services will continue to be allowed to host the series. So, if you want to see Runaways, the time to chase after it is now.