At the 2018 New York Comic Con, Hulu announced that the second season of its popular Marvel series would feature a new character. Topher, the century-old vampire who featured in the original comics, would debut in Runaways season 2. The streamer didn’t say if their take would follow co-creators Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona’s version to a fault, but they did name the young actor who would be playing him.
“I’m super grateful to be joining the Marvel/Hulu Runaways family,” Jan Luis Castellanos said in a statement at the time of his casting announcement. “It has been a dream come true. Topher is a tough and complicated kid, and it was very exciting to bring him to life.”
Meet Jan Luis Castellanos, the new bad boy of Runaways season 2
Castellanos, a native of the Dominican Republic who grew up in New Jersey, spoke to Metro about his breakout role just ahead of the second season’s premiere on Friday. And even though the smoke has cleared, the production is over and the completed season is about to stream, the 23-year-old actor still can’t believe that he’s now a part of the Marvel universe.
“I remember watching The Avengers when I was younger. I was like, ‘Oh my God this is amazing!’” he exclaims. “I’ve always been a fan, so for me, it was just a straight-up dream come true to do this. It’s a universe filled with endless possibilities. It’s something that I definitely wanted to be a part of and I’m really excited about what’s to come.”
The young actor has a handful of credits here and there, but Runaways season 2 represents his biggest role yet. This prospect equally excites and terrifies Castellanos, but he also feels lucky to have received a crash course in modern acting because of the experience.
“It was like meeting a girl for the first time,” he says of meeting the cast. “I walked onto the studio soundstage and they were just all there waiting for me after a scene. They were so great! Especially Gregg Sulkin and Rhenzy Feliz. Gregg taught me a lot. I learned so much from him while we were working together on set. As for Rhenzy, we immediately connected because his family is also from the Dominican Republic. Plus, there’s Ariela Barer and Allegra Acosta… it was such a Latino-centric set and it was great.”
Castellanos also counts himself lucky for having had the chance to work on such a technically complex production. Runaways is a show about superheroes and villains, after all, so this requires a dazzling array of stuntwork, practical effects and visual effects for most of the characters – including Topher.
“I felt a lot of pressure, being surrounded by all of that,” he says of the stunts and effects, “but I got to learn so much. And the great thing about it was, I felt good doing it. I was motivated to give it my best.”
He takes a beat to laugh to himself before wrapping things up.
“Man, I’m blushing now,” says Castellanos. “I still can’t believe I got to be a part of this.”
The Runaways season 2 premiere is set for Friday, Dec. 21, on Hulu.