After splitting up at the end of last season to varying degrees of peril, the Runaways are in for a dark and wicked ride when the anticipated third season of Marvel’s Runaways returns to Hulu this December.

The six Runaways — plus executive producers showrunners Josh Schwartz and Stephanie Savage, and head of Marvel Television Jeph Loeb — previewed the upcoming season premiere episode for fans at New York Comic Con, and it’s going to be one heck of a ride when the episodes drop on the streaming platform Dec.13. After running away last season, these teens are now fully on their own as they try to harness their powers to defeat evil.

“At the beginning of the season, we’re talking about things around the idea that you can’t go home again,” Savage said. “The kids are grown up; they’re not looking back, they’re not thinking about ‘maybe we should go back to our parents, back how it was,’ that’s over, we’re moving forward and they’re dealing with grown-up issues this year.”

Not only will we see the kids growing up and exploring different parts of themselves, but also more discovering and owning their powers. Ariela Barer, who plays the lilac-haired Gert, teases that we’ll see more of Gert’s powers. During the episode screening, Gert — who’s been kidnapped by her father Dale in a rustic cabin — finally convinces dear ole Dad of her strength and to let her go. He cannot let her go on her own, at least not until she masters some of Old Lace’s special powers for protection. It turns out Gert can “drive” the hybrid dinosaur to attack impending targets. While half of the squad is ready to save the day, three members of the team were stuck in alien Jonah’s algorithm pods, as we saw in last year’s finale.

“When you’re in the tube, your dream self is living out your deepest fantasy, so obviously [for Karolina] that involves Nico,” actor Virginia Gardner, who plays Karolina, said. “I think that will probably feed into a lot of fan fantasy as well; I think people will like Tube Karolina.”

Something Wicked This Way Comes

While the romance and the grounded drama initially intrigued fans as the teens were first coming into their powers, now that they’ve fully embraced their true selves, they’ve got magic to do. Actress Lyrica Okano, who plays Nico, shares that this season doesn’t hold anything back: there’s magic, science, and plenty of action and special effects. The show has been given a superhero show treatment as everything gets a cool science-fiction treatment with a bunch of action sequences and explosions. Then, as teased in the premiere episode, a lot of dark moments come into play this season.

“It’s a wicked season,” Gardner said. “There’s witchcraft involved, we introduce a lot of zombies at one point, and a lot of dark, interesting elements that we haven’t played with before and some new sci-fi elements. This season it feels less like The O.C.; it’s definitely starting to feel like it’s own interesting universe.”

While the emotion, humor, and romance are key to the show’s heart and popularity, Schwartz adds that this is the darkest season yet and teases that not everyone will make it out alive by the finale. To put it succinctly: Loeb calls it “the Winter’s Soldier of Runaways.”

As part of the show’s dark journey this season, the wicked comic character Morgan le Fay joins the show, as played by Elizabeth Hurley. Le Fay, and her coven of witches, seemingly pull Nico to the dark side when this season picks up.

“I think the mystical element adds a lot of depth to the show and a lot of darkness to the show, and as a result increases the stakes,” Sulkin said. “I believe the addition of Liz Hurley on the show is fantastic. The fact that we’ve been able to spin off, it’s going to be refreshing for the audience. The audience have a new show they’re going to watch. This season is the most different from the previous two. ”

Time to Meet New People and Places

This season will also see new flashbacks and flash-forwards of the teens, even addressing Alex’s past or even Karolina’s future, as well as take the characters to a bunch of new, dark places. Schwartz explains how they’ve completed “upped the ante this season” to create the biggest season yet. One way to do so? Bring in a super-powered team-up to help aide your rescue mission. As previously announced, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger will be making a significant appearance on the new season as they join forces with the Runaways — and even meet Old Lace — for a fun episode.

“We don’t do this [crossovers] often, and we don’t particularly with the kids play it very publicly. There’s no one stepping out in front of a camera saying ‘I am Iron Man,’” Loeb said, “And so, the idea of them running into each other really became something we can have a lot of fun with in the sense that every kid at some point feels like ‘I’m the only one that feels this,’ and being able to take that and use that … that opens the door to ‘who else is there out there that might be like us’ and ‘do they need our help or are they doing just fine,’ and d’o we need to learn from them?’”

Schwartz and Savage note how they’ve wanted this crossover team-up since the beginning of the show’s process.

“It [Cloak and Dagger] flowed really well,” Schwartz said. “We’ve been talking about it for awhile, and have been asking Jeph [Loeb] if we can do it since day one. We had a storyline with Nico at the end and it worked with some of the stuff [Cloak and Dagger] have been wrestling with, and a lot of conversations with Marvel and Joe Pokaski [their showrunner] and they were thrilled they get to shoot in Los Angeles. There’s only two of them and we have a giant mansion; there’s plenty of room!”

According to Okano, Cloak and Dagger come to the Runaways to help them “rescue one of [their] own.” Although, Schwartz teases, Nico and Dagger (Olivia Holt) don’t quite see eye-to-eye.

“There’s definitely going to be some friction, which I think is great for the show, because it adds a lot of comedy,” Sulkin said. “It’s a fun episode, it’s a great episode, and I think comic fans are really going to enjoy it. This episode is for them. This one is a ‘thank you for watching the show’ sort of episode.”

At the end of the panel, the crew shared an exclusive first look at the season trailer, teasing the unknown host of a dangerous alien, Karolina and le Fay coming to a head over Nico’s true alliance between light and dark, and even the first introduction to the Divine Pairing. Gardner even teased an “incredible finale” during the panel, which Schwartz revealed it may have some big Easter eggs to the MCU.

“I think it’s the most ambitious season we’ve had,” Sulkin said. “Audiences have to pay attention, I’m not going to lie. Part of the fantastic part of the show this season is that it is so detailed and it’s so in-depth and it goes into so many different worlds potentially; you have to follow what is going on.”