Marvel's Runaways is full of teenagers that all harbor special abilities and a grudge for their parents. But what happens when you throw an alien into the mix?
Xavin was introduced on Marvel's Runaways Season 2 and the ragtag group of kids were quick to distrust her. Xavin proved her loyalty to Karolina and the rest of the Runaways though when she fought beside them and for them.
As the third season of Hulu's beloved show premieres, we had the chance to speak with Clarissa Thibeaux, who plays Xavin, about her character's last journey on Marvel's Runaways and what it was like shooting the final set of episodes.
When did you find out you booked the part of Xavin?
I had the chemistry read test on a Thursday, and then I found out the following Monday, and then I started shooting that Wednesday, so it was super quick. It was the week of my birthday; it was a really good birthday gift!
Were you a fan of Runaways before you got the role?
I'm pretty sure I had seen a couple of episodes beforehand, but I hadn't watched all of season one yet. Once I got the role, I was like oh time to binge. I went to all the comic book stores and tried to find everything that had Xavin in it, to get a little more context for what I was going into.
That was going to be my next question, if you read any of the comics because she's a lot different than the comic book version of Xavin.
Yeah, so when I first found out that I was going to be Xavin, I went on Wikipedia and saw all this information about Xavin and then immediately went to a comic book store and just searched for Xavin in as many Runaways comics I could get my hands on.
But the one thing that I think I took away from the comics, even though Xavin in the show is different, is that Xavin is unintentionally funny and so blatantly honest. So, that was something I took away from the comic book version. I was like, okay, I'm going to run with this as much as I can. And hopefully, I did it.
But that was something I was like, 'this is going to be so much fun to play.'
It's a lot of dry humor.
Yeah, super dry humor.
How would you describe Xavin's character arc this season?
This season I would say that Xavin really starts to understand what humanity is all about -- what it means to be human. And learn how to not always be a warrior. Sometimes it's okay to relax a little bit and to trust people.
One of my favorite scenes was when she was trying to smile when Molly was teaching her how to be more human.
That was a fun scene to film. It was really fun cause Larry Teng, who directed that episode, you know, it's written that Xavin kind of smiles so I brought to it something that I had thought and Larry was cracking up.
He was like 'okay now try it like this.' I don't know which version they used in the show, but everyone on production was laughing, and it was a really fun moment to be on set.
One of my favorite dynamics to come out of this season, and one that took me by surprise, was Xavin and Molly. How did that come about?
Well, in the original comics, Xavin and Molly do have a really interesting relationship. Kind of like a sisterly relationship in a way where Molly kind of helps Xavin soften a little bit. And, in the show, I feel like we tried to honor that from the comics.
When Allegra [Acosta] and I were rehearsing those scenes, it was so nice because I love her so much as an actor and as a person. So it was really easy to fall into that okay now we're going to be really good friends.
And, on the other hand, Xavin clashed a lot with Nico in her pursuit of protecting and being with Karolina. Were you nervous at all in being a part of a potential love triangle with Deanoru -- a wildly popular ship?
Yeah, I mean from Season 2 it became very quickly and abundantly clear that Deanoru shippers don't play and were not happy to see me, [laughs] especially the ones who read the comics they were like 'no.'
So even before we started filming Season 3, I already knew I was like 'oh, they're gonna hate me, they're gonna hate me.'
But, I'm not afraid. I was actually so excited about that conflict; it's so fun to play. And there were so many layers to it in Season 3 with Nico because of everything Nico is going through with her magic and who she believes she is.
So, I think a lot of the time Xavin's just seeing that, Nico kind of doubting herself and being like, 'uh, let's get rid of her!'
You know, Xavin's a warrior. Xavin goes with mission operative. So, for Nico's character it's an internal struggle. For Xavin, it's a matter of how to keep Karolina safe and the people who I assume are going to help me with my mission safe. And that's kind of the only objective.
One of my favorite twists was that the prophecy was actually referring to Leslie's new baby -- Elle. Did you know that that is where Xavin's story was going to end up?
That was a surprise to me. I did not know that was going to happen to me until I read the episode.
It's funny because I personally, as Clarissa, I love children so much that getting to work with babies on set I was so stoked for, I was so excited.
The little babies on set were so cute, and I love children, so it was one of those moments where I guess life imitates art. The way Xavin is supposed to be glowing while she's holding the child, I wasn't even acting. I love babies. So, it made it quite easy.
Were you surprised when you found out Alex was the fourth alien?
Well, it's funny because all of us on set, you know, we only get the episodes as they come out before we're filming. I'm pretty sure that Rhenzy knew about it beforehand, that Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie [Savage] told him early, but he wasn't allowed to tell anybody else.
But as we were going through episodes, a lot of us would be like, 'who do you think the alien is?' I called him out from the beginning because with all my research about Xavin in the comics, I saw Alex had gone bad. It wasn't that he was an alien in the comics, but he had turned sour.
I was like, 'I think it's going to be him. That makes the most sense, that kind of follows the comic books what would happen with him anyway.' So, I was happy I was right.
I don't want to toot my own horn or anything, but right before I sat down to watch the season, I wrote down my prediction that it was either going to be Alex or Leslie's baby. The only time I've ever been right, so I was pretty proud of myself [laughs].
Well, yay! Take any bets on that?
No, I wish I had! Because I'm usually not right. But then, at the end of the third episode, I was like, yes I'm right!
I was half expecting Xavin to return to fight Morgan in the final battle. I feel like they definitely would have been more successful, and we didn't really get to see the full extent of Xavin's powers. Do you wish Xavin could have stuck around a little longer?
Oh, absolutely. I am so grateful for the way that Xavin's character arc was written because I think it was very well done and made sense and brought together everything. And, also, we tilted our hats to Deanoru shippers. I thought that it was a good way to assess a lot of things.
But I would be lying if I said I wasn't -- I was still on the email chain, so I was still getting episodes even though I wasn't in the episodes. So I was skimming through it like am I in it? Am I going to come back? Hoping I was going to come back.
But I'm excited to see the rest of it. I would read the episodes when I got them in my inbox, but it always changes so much from script to screen. So, I'm excited to see how it actually all turns out.
Did you have a favorite scene partner?
Ooo...I'm not sure. I mean, for this last season, I think it would be Allegra. I had so much fun in all the scenes we did together. She's just such an amazing young woman to be around, and I loved working with her.
And I think I had the most one-on-one scenes with her, especially in the beginning. It was really nice; all the scenes we got to do together were really sweet and fun and informative. I would say Allegra.
I loved the scene where Molly is teaching Xavin how to sleep, and they have their stuffed animals.
That one was really fun to film.
Was there anyone you wish you got to do more scenes with?
I wish I got to do more scenes with Brigid [Brannagh]. I don't think I did many with her at all.
But there were a lot of times we were on set together. I know there's a scene where this happens, but I don't know when it is, where the dinosaur is like in dino vision and looking at Stacey. When she was filming that I was also filming a pick-up for something else so we were on set together.
And I love her so much, and I think she's such an amazing actor and she has an amazing resume of shows that she's been on and things that she's done. She's so giving and lovely that I wish I could have had a little bit more time with her, getting to work with her.
She was fantastic in jumping from the alien to Stacey.
Yes! How fun is that? I think that the four inhabited people had such a fun time.
What was your favorite part of playing Xavin?
I think it would be that I love the blatant honesty. There's so many times that Xavin would just say something and the rest of the group would be like 'wow, okay.'
In real life, there are few chances that I get to be blatantly honest, so it was nice being able to be a character that could say exactly what was going on without any kind of apology or filter.
There was never really complete closure with Xavin's storyline. I, personally, want to see a spinoff of Xavin and baby Elle traveling through space fighting aliens.
What would you have liked to see for Xavin if there had been a Season 4?
Well, one thing in the comics that I was really interested in -- I had a feeling it wasn't going to happen on the show -- is Xavin's ability to have all the powers of the Fantastic Four.
So Xavin can do all the things the Fantastic Four can, and I thought that would be such an amazing power to bring into any kind of battle.
The other thing I was really interested in is seeing how raising a half-alien half-human child would change Xavin in her home planet where there's no humans. And if there would be some kind of emotional shift and how that child would grow up in an alternative society.
Do you have any exciting future projects coming up?
Right now, the one project that I'm super excited about is called RxR. It's actually something I wrote and I am producing with one of my really good friends. We did a crowdfunding campaign for it and raised $10,000.
That's awesome, congrats!
So, right now we're in pre-production for everything. We're location scouting and all that stuff and just putting everything together. It's a passion project of ours, and I think it's gonna be really cool. We've got a lot of amazing women on board to help make the story a reality.
So, right now that's kind of been my main focus. But, pilot season is around the corner, so who knows what's going to happen. Things happen overnight.
Marvel's Runaways Season 3 is now streaming on Hulu.
Sarah Little is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.