Hulu’s Runaways has cast a fan-favorite villain for its upcoming second season, and the reveal comes as something of a surprise. Announced today at the Runaways panel at New York Comic Con, Jan Luis Castellanos will play Topher, who is a vampire in the comics.
Topher’s run in Runaways was a relatively short one. The character only lasted for four issues, having been introduced in Runaways #7 and perishing in Runaways #10. Regardless, his presence deeply affected the team, as he was their first run-in with villainous supernatural forces beyond their parents and the ancient pseudo-gods they worshipped, the Gibborim.
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“I’m super grateful to be joining the Marvel/Hulu/Runaways family,” said Castellanos in an interview with Marvel.com. “It has been a dream come true. Topher is a tough and complicated kid, and it was very exciting to bring him to life. I can’t wait for you all to meet him!”
Marvel did not go into great detail about how Topher will play into the second season of Runaways, or whether he will retain his vampiric status. The Hulu series has taken liberties with the Runaways story, introducing new foes that were not in the comics and expanding or completely rewriting character arcs. It’s completely possible that Topher’s story could also be rewritten for the show.
If not, though, the addition of a vampire to a major Marvel property is huge news for the company’s television and movie efforts. While the comics have never been scared for throwing a bloodsucker into the mix, vampires have been all but absent from Marvel’s on-screen efforts since the Blade film series concluded.
Perhaps Topher’s introduction signifies that Marvel is testing the waters for a vampiric resurgence, or maybe his character will be so far divorced from the source material that his on-screen addition is in name only. Only the release of Runaways Season 2 will reveal exactly how the company intends to handle Topher.
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That being said, the announcement did reveal that Topher will play a pivotal role in teaching the team how to actually survive as runaways. As a street-savvy runaway himself, Topher will know how to read a room and survive on his own. It remains to be seen if part of that surviving also has to do with consuming human blood.
Marvel’s Runaways is a Hulu original series, with all 13 episodes of Season 2 set to be released on Dec. 21. The returning cast includes Rhenzy Feliz, Lyrica Okano, Virginia Gardner, Ariela Barer, Gregg Sulkin, Allegra Acosta, Angel Parker, Ryan Sans, Annie Wersching, Kip Pardue, Ever Carradine, James Marsters, Brigid Brannagh, Kevin Weisman, Brittany Ishibashi and James Yaegashi.