'Runaways' Church Modeled After Scientology

Marvel's Runaways kicked off with a three-episode premiere on Hulu and while there were a lot of [...]

Marvel's Runaways kicked off with a three-episode premiere on Hulu and while there were a lot of mysteries introduced in the premiere, the real life model for the show's Church of Gibborim isn't one of them.

Mild spoilers for Marvel's Runaways below.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, actor Annie Wersching, who plays Leslie Dean, confirmed that there are a lot of paralells between the show's Church of Gibborim and Scientology.

"There's definitely going to be a lot of parallels drawn with Scientology," Wersching said. "As it was presented to me by Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie is that it's actually quite different. It's all based in science and it's all about the UV rays and everything you can see in your spectrum and what's beyond that."

For those who are unfamiliar with Scientology, the church is a fairly controversial institution. Founded in 1954, Scientology has deep Hollywood roots and many famous members but has also been hit with numerous allegations over the decades. Leah Remini, a former member of Scientology, even has a television series devoted to the harrowing stories of former members.

While the Church of Gibborim isn't exactly based off of Scientology, it's definitely borrowed from it as well as its notoriety. Like Scientology, Gibborim is based in Los Angeles with its leaders being pillars of their elite community and, on the notoriety side of things, the Gibborim may be putting up the front of an upstanding organization doing good for the community, but there is definitely more going on. The show's first three episodes show the titular Runaways witnessing their parents -- as part of the grop The Pride -- appear to sacrifice a young woman in the name of Gibborim.

Of course, specifically what that sacrifice is for and just how sinister the church is in the series is yet to unfold, but according to Wersching, there is something beyond the smiles the church members wear.

"But, yeah, it definitely has a little bit of a creepy vibe, has a little bit of a cultish vibe," she said. "The smiles that they wear, I think in that alone, they're a little bit creepy."

Marvel's Runaways is now streaming on Hulu.