Ryan Sands Discusses the Complexities of Being a Super Villain Father in Marvel's Runaways

Ryan Sands Discusses the Complexities of Being a Super Villain Father in Marvel's Runaways

In Marvel’s Runaways, Geoffrey Wilder, portrayed by Ryan Sands, leads a double life as both a loving husband and father but also as the leader of the Pride, a supervillain criminal organization that controls most of Los Angeles. Everything is thrown into chaos, however, when his genius son Alex and his gifted friends accidentally stumble upon one of their rituals. While teenagers often see their parents as the bad guy, Marvel’s Runaways features parents as literal villains. Shakefire spoke with Sands where he discussed what it’s like being a part of a Marvel project and bringing out the complexities of Geoffrey.


Shakefire (SF): Tell me, what was it like for you when you sign up for something as big as a Marvel project? Everyone seems to want to be a superhero or a supervillain these days so getting that call must have been exciting.
Ryan Sands (RS): Well yeah, everyone wants to do it, but I don’t know if anyone kinda wanted it more than me. I’m a big nerd, man, so this was an incredible opportunity that I didn’t see coming. I didn’t know initially what it was because they don’t really give you a lot of details with the first audition notice, but once I kinda looked at the characters I knew what it was. I was like, “Wait a minute, I think this Geoffrey. This is the Runaways.” As soon as I got a refresher course I was even more excited.


SF: Being both a villain and then you’re also a father of one of the kids, one of the good guys. So what kind of approach did you take with Geoffrey?
RS: That aspect is the most interesting aspect of the character for me, and it is the most fun to play with, because Geoffrey wasn’t really portrayed like that as much in the comic. We didn’t really get a lot of who the Pride were in this kinda arc to get all of that stuff in 22 pages. I really expected Geoffrey to kinda be this bad guy who is stabbing teenage girls before you know it. I was kinda expecting this really bad and harsh guy, but what I got is a guy who loves his family, a guy who loves his son, a guy wants to shield his son from the things he’s doing. So it allowed me to approach Geoffrey from a real place. It was unexpected but very interesting.


I think we all have to make sacrifices for people who we love, no pun intended. We’ve all had to do things for people we love, and sometimes we don’t want to do those things, but love requires certain things of you. In this instance, Geoffrey got himself into something that he can’t really get himself out of at this late date, but for him the safety of his family is always present in his mind.



SF: Villains never see themselves as villains. They always seem themselves as the good guy in their own eyes. How are you justifying going after your own son and his friends?
RS: I think Geoffrey’s concern is keeping Alex safe, keeping Alex out of trouble. That is why he’s chasing his son, basically. The other kids [laughs], not so much. Alex Wilder has to be safe. Geoffrey knows the consequences of making certain people angry, and he doesn’t want Alex to be in those crosshairs. Really, it’s not your traditional bad guy going after the good guy. This is a father trying to protect his son, and the only way to protect his son is if he gets him back home where he can watch him, he can protect him, and he can keep him self.


SF: For those people who aren’t familiar with the series, there’s actually a genetically engineered dinosaur featured as one of the characters. Did you get to share any scenes with it? What was that like on set?
RS: We did! Not very much, but it was cool being on set with Old Lace [laughs]. Not initially, though. The first time I met Old Lace she was kinda just sitting somewhere, you know, in the dark, and I was rehearsing my lines in my head and trying to work some things out in my movement, and I just wasn’t really paying attention, and I wandered close to where Old Lace was. I just saw out of the corner of my eye, the light just hit her eyes, and it really freaked me out for a second before I realized what that was over there.


But yeah, the puppeteers and what the visual effects artists are doing is really incredible. It’s really crazy how good she looks! We’re at a time where technology is just allowing our imaginations to come to life. Anything we imagine we can see it at this point on TV, not just in the movies, but on TV now. So yeah, we’ve got a dinosaur running around. It’s kinda cool.


SF: Despite not having abilities himself, Geoffrey does wield an incredible amount of power as the leader of the Pride. What can fans expect from him this season?
RS: I think they can expect to be surprised at this take on Geoffrey, which again is a little more nuanced than what they might be used to. I think they can expect to see this leader, this guy who is fearless to a point, he’s strong but he’s also a very loving father and very supportive husband to his very strong wife. I think they’ll be able to identify with some of Geoffrey’s struggles and have fun seeing him work his way through it.


Marvel's Runaways consists of 10 episodes and is streaming exclusively on Hulu. The first three episodes are now available to watch online, with new episodes premiering weekly.

Matt Rodriguez
Interview by Matt Rodriguez
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