I’m in the middle of watching this season of Marvel’s Runaways on Hulu with my family. It’s a lot of fun; pity it was canceled as part of whatever corporate machinations are going on at Disney/Marvel/Fox.
Without too much in the way of spoilers, in the middle of the season, one of the major plot points is around an evil phone. This phone is extremely evil. I haven’t finished the season yet, but someone’s distributing a lot of evil phones to people, and they’re making them do evil things, in a very Black Mirror kind of way.
The phone should be immediately recognizable to any phone geek watching the show:
Yes! It’s the Red Hydrogen One!
The Red Hydrogen One is a huge, weird, expensive, and failed smartphone from the Red camera company. Its flagship feature was supposedly magical; with a 3D screen and camera, it was going to ignite a renaissance of 3D “holographic” content. It did not.
The phone was still on the market when Runaways Season 3 was being filmed this May. In October, it got knocked down to half price and then discontinued. It doesn’t look as though Runaways had a relationship with the Red camera company, so that means somebody probably paid full price for one.
The phone’s back isn’t removable, so the production team may have had to destroy a Hydrogen One to get this shot. I don’t know whether the real phone crumbles to dust when you pull the black feather out from under the battery, though.
Smartphones are a huge part of daily life, and pretty often, smartphone companies pony up to get their products or brands seen on the screen. Captain America: Civil War had a product placement deal with China’s Vivo phone company, and earlier Marvel films featured Samsungs.
But it’s unlikely that the evil Corvus Phone on Runaways is a licensed product; it’s been hacked by the production department to be its own fictional brand, and, most importantly, it’s evil. Still, it’s a fun Easter egg for people who like weird tech.