Meet The Pride of Marvel’s 'Runaways': Angel Parker and Ryan Sands

After rising from humble beginnings and striving against adversity to become the very model of a [...]

After rising from humble beginnings and striving against adversity to become the very model of a power couple, businessman Geoffrey and attorney Catherine Wilder have made for compelling role models for their only son, Alex – until he discovers they're key members of a supervillain cabal known as The Pride.

Bringing a strong sense of conflicted feelings to the Wilders' apparent bid for power, Ryan Sands (The Wire) and Angel Parker (American Crime Story, The Strain) specialize in shades of grey, as they revealed during a set visit of Marvel's latest entry into television.

On finding the balance between playing seemingly reasonable parents and being supervillains:

Ryan Sands: The world our writers have created is grounded in a very real place, so these decisions, although I've never had to decide whether or not I'm going to sacrifice someone – at least not yet and hopefully that doesn't happen – you get the decisions. Family is incredibly important to the Wilders, which is a very cool aspect of this whole situation. These decisions are made with family in mind, at the core.

If that's what you're going into this thing with and that's always at the forefront of your thoughts, then you get certain compromises. In real life, you can make a decision that you think will be fairly small and manageable, at the offset, but then things snowball and stakes can get raised. It's not as great of a leap as you might think.

Angel Parker: We've made a deal with the devil, and the devil has come back. We've also compromised, in many ways, to advance our family. Those decisions are made, one at a time, so when you're faced with the end of that, is it worth it? I think that's where the Wilders are, in the beginning of our show. Is all of this worth it? Is it worth losing our son? Is it worth losing what we've built? Is it worth losing our souls? We get to dive into all of that.

You'll get to see the history. We get to go back in time to when we first became members of The Pride, and you'll see The Pride grow and have conflict among themselves. And then, obviously, our show is about the Runaways finding out and running away. There is a lot at stake, and for a villain to be a good villain, you have to understand the reasoning and why they made the decisions that they did. The audience will get it.

On exploring the parent-son dynamic within the Wilder family:

Sands: It's about always keeping the love at the forefront. We're in the position that we're in because of our love for our family unit. But if your kid is going to potentially throw a monkey wrench into this whole thing, you're like, "I love you, but I can't allow you to do this." It's a very interesting dynamic to play in.

There's also the dynamic of not wanting your child to see you in an unfavorable light. There are things that you've made peace with, to a degree or as much as you can, with what you're doing, but you don't necessarily want your child to see that side of you. Geoffrey has worked hard to build a great relationship with his son. The last thing he wants to do is to allow that to crumble, essentially at the finish line of what they're doing all of these things for. That's a really cool dynamic to play.

Parker: Teenagers hate their parents, and parents think they know what's best for their teenagers. That's a universal story. These actors that we're working with are young actors, but they're actors. We do our scenes with Rhenzy [Feliz], and we're coming together as three adults. He's an adult, but he's a young adult. We work with him like we'd work on any scene with any other actor. It's about what we're doing with the scene, how we're gonna move it forward, and what's happening with the dynamics. The three of us, when we come together, are Team Wilder.

Sometimes our table reads become Game of Thrones, with these families coming together and facing off. They seat us all together, and it's very interesting to see the dynamics of each individual family, of the teenagers vs. the parents, and then when we all come together. It's insane to see how that all plays out. The scenes that we have with The Pride take all day to shoot because there are nine of us.

On their familiarity with the deeper Marvel Universe coming into this project:

Sands: I'm living a dream right now, ladies and gentlemen. This is amazing! I was that kid, from as far back as I can remember, with my Spider-Man Underoos. I've been into the Marvel characters since I was a small kid. Just being able to sit back and see these characters hit the big screen, and be done so incredibly well, has just been fun. I was good with that, but to be an actor on a Marvel show right now is super cool!

This machine has been running so well, and coming up with new ways to tell stories and present these characters that have been around for decades. The older fans that love these characters are connecting with it, but they're also being introduced to new audiences. It's just a fun time and it's incredibly exciting to be a part of it, especially with a fairly current property like Runaways that had such a devoted fan base.

I think fans are going be really excited to see where we've stayed faithful. They're going to be pleased with the representation of these character, and at the same time, they're going to be excited by all of the spins and new elements that have been added to the story.

The funny thing is that I bear a resemblance to Geoffrey. At first, I got some ribbing, and I want to do the character justice. I have a couple of friends who are real Runaways fans, so in between trying to get details, they're putting the pressure on me to do justice to Geoffrey Wilder.

Parker: I have an 11-year-old boy, and he read that comic in two days. He was like, "So, that's you?! It doesn't look like you!" And I was like, "Don't worry!" We're gonna do them justice. The fans are going to be very, very pleased with how we've portrayed all of these characters.