News

Marvel's Cloak & Dagger Is a Teen Superhero Show Unlike Any Other

Stars Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph premiere the new Freeform series at SXSW.

by | March 11, 2018 | Comments

(Photo by Ed Silla)

Drugs, sex, police violence, and ballet: The upcoming superhero drama, Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, goes places few superhero series have gone before — and it’s doing it on the channel once known as ABC Family.

On Sunday, Freeform showed off its new series, Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger, co-produced by Marvel Television and ABC Signature Studios, at a special premiere of the pilot episode inside Austin’s Central Presbyterian Church. The South By Southwest festivalgoers who’d gathered in the pews were also treated to a panel discussion with the series stars, Aubrey Joseph and former Disney favorite Olivia Holt, as well as showrunner Joe Pokaski, Marvel’s Head of Television, Jeph Loeb, and pilot director, Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Joseph plays Tyrone “Ty” Johnson, alias “Cloak,” and Holt is Tandy Bowen, “Dagger,” two teenagers who discover they have powers just as they’re discovering a powerful attraction to each other. In the pilot, we learn that he is a basketball star struggling with the expectations of his parents and a tragic loss, while she is a sometime runaway well on the way to a lucrative, but dangerous life of crime. When their paths cross, their powers are revealed, and the two begin to realize they might have met before.

We won’t say too much else about what happens, except to say that it all kicks off with a bang, and there’s a cinematic quality to the pilot, much of which is thanks to Prince-Bythewood, who helmed the Certified Fresh features Love and Basketball (82%) and Beyond the Lights (83%). Rotten Tomatoes fans who voted it their number 2 most anticipated new show of spring and summer won’t be disappointed.


Marvel's Cloak and Dagger stars Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt (Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani)

There is also something very fresh about Marvel and ABC’s approach, choosing to lean into the very real problems these kids face, rather than sugarcoat anything. It’s much more Jessica Jones than Peter Parker.

“I think the reason I instantly fell in love with [the project] is because there’s no glamorizing what their lives are,” Holt said. “As humans we connect to that, we want to see that.”

For Loeb, who has worked on Marvel series on Netflix, ABC, and Hulu, the original comic book characters, who first appeared in 1982, appealed because they offered something very different from other Marvel heroes.

First of all, the characters are young; unlike many of the Marvel characters who had careers and set lives before they collided with what Loeb called “the Marvel of their lives” (their abilities), Cloak and Dagger were still working themselves out. And then they were outsiders.

“What really made [Cloak and Dagger] unique was their love story and that they really — much more than other characters in the Marvel Universe — they very much lived on the outskirts,” Loeb said. “They didn’t want to be the Avengers. There was no desire to join. They were still trying to figure out who they were.”


Marvel's Cloak and Dagger stars Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt (Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani)

Prince-Bythewood told the audience she set out to make “my sons’ favorite show” and was proud that its leads would be a young woman and a young black man.

Casting those two leads was one of the biggest challenges in developing the series. Holt was a frontrunner from the start, but the team needed to find someone for Cloak who would “crackle” on screen with their Dagger. They were less than a week from shooting when a final audition between Joseph and Holt sealed the deal. The actors were called upon to ad-lib a scene after a long day, and Joseph remembered there was “undeniable chemistry” in the room when they began. Holt said it was an “epic” moment.

“It felt like we were the only two people in the room,” she said. “It didn’t feel like there were 12 people sitting there watching us.”

When the series airs, there will no doubt be speculation about when and if Cloak and Dagger become romantically involved (and, likely, there will also be a lot of fans shipping a similar real-life romance between Joseph and Holt). Showrunner Pokaski wouldn’t be drawn on the “will they or won’t they” question.

“Half the people wants them to end up together and half the people are offended by that idea,” he said. “First and foremost, it’s a story about finding your best friend.”

As for the big question on everyone’s mind — will there be crossovers? — the producers and stars gave the crowd a few clues. It is definitely set firmly in the Marvel Cinematic and TV Universe (Roxxon Energy Corporation is prominent), and crossovers, most likely with characters from Hulu original Marvel’s Runaways, are possible, especially given the ABC/Disney/Marvel ties.

But don’t hold your breath for anything first season. Loeb says season 1 is about getting to know “this cast, this world, these people.”

Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger premieres June 7 on Freeform. 


Tag Cloud

Ghostbusters Reality quibi Sundance Now San Diego Comic-Con See It Skip It FX TCA 2017 revenge facebook Freeform IFC Films Chernobyl CNN unscripted adventure 24 frames anime thriller Music cats USA Network cults TV anthology video hist Sci-Fi game show talk show disaster television The Witch movies Box Office OWN free movies space First Look Winners dc cancelled TV series social media Pet Sematary harry potter Logo Amazon zombies Disney Channel New York Comic Con Mary Poppins Returns Disney streaming service historical drama Trivia ghosts TV renewals Musical Mindy Kaling docudrama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Best and Worst Syfy GIFs TCM romantic comedy independent Mary poppins Women's History Month ITV 20th Century Fox Mystery Spring TV Action HBO Max cancelled TV shows mutant Peacock aliens based on movie Grammys finale indie Podcast war TNT Cartoon Network Epix GoT Writers Guild of America 21st Century Fox tv talk discovery 2019 National Geographic Comedy Central diversity psycho RT21 singing competition A24 Marvel Studios halloween crime President BET Acorn TV VH1 Cosplay natural history Comedy zombie Schedule Black Mirror VICE 2015 Mary Tyler Moore blockbuster Family toy story ESPN YouTube Infographic children's TV Emmy Nominations Pop police drama Spike APB Shondaland Awards Oscars travel Adult Swim Sneak Peek Teen AMC Fantasy Masterpiece Thanksgiving DC Comics elevated horror Vudu 71st Emmy Awards dceu Lucasfilm psychological thriller E! cars Premiere Dates Biopics Interview Kids & Family Captain marvel cops Martial Arts Lifetime Watching Series X-Men award winner Winter TV TBS Sundance Crunchyroll justice league TLC Netflix crime thriller HBO Calendar witnail YouTube Premium The Walking Dead dragons TruTV technology Cannes Brie Larson Trophy Talk Universal vampires supernatural MCU teaser sequel binge Emmys series medical drama NBC BBC America adaptation Elton John book breaking bad sports Comics on TV political drama Anna Paquin 2017 Turner Disney Plus SDCC Character Guide Warner Bros. SundanceTV Esquire Trailer Nickelodeon Fall TV Walt Disney Pictures Marathons Classic Film golden globes YouTube Red Creative Arts Emmys spider-man CBS All Access Hulu Horror Certified Fresh American Society of Cinematographers Britbox Mudbound hispanic canceled TV shows spanish language Drama latino Amazon Prime cancelled television romance NYCC south america Film cancelled Pride Month foreign Year in Review Fox News WGN strong female leads Dark Horse Comics festivals Binge Guide dramedy slashers BBC comic Rocketman Rom-Com Turner Classic Movies The Arrangement FXX Bravo USA Arrowverse animated richard e. Grant GLAAD comiccon MTV Heroines nature TIFF game of thrones Apple 45 Television Academy Tarantino kids Sony Pictures CMT Paramount 2016 The Purge Tumblr WarnerMedia ratings Marvel Television Super Bowl Set visit Election A&E green book 007 true crime crime drama Star Wars cinemax El Rey blaxploitation Western Nominations ABC Family Christmas TCA Columbia Pictures Quiz Disney YA Stephen King First Reviews Nat Geo Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt casting Food Network stand-up comedy werewolf Song of Ice and Fire 2018 boxoffice CW Seed serial killer TV Land Red Carpet Starz LGBTQ jamie lee curtis PBS Pixar Video Games Countdown Crackle composers crossover RT History Animation Pirates cooking Apple TV+ joker Rock Extras spy thriller DGA what to watch streaming Valentine's Day Star Trek renewed TV shows mockumentary FOX miniseries batman Showtime period drama Rocky DC Universe Ovation Ellie Kemper science fiction Toys Amazon Prime Video biography theme song Apple TV Plus Polls and Games doctor who Lionsgate Country LGBT IFC MSNBC The CW robots Tomatazos CBS Marvel sitcom Musicals DirecTV Holidays Spectrum Originals transformers Photos Superheroe DC streaming service History ABC Reality Competition Opinion Shudder E3 canceled politics Comic Book versus Film Festival SXSW PaleyFest Summer Superheroes cartoon zero dark thirty spain Paramount Network Awards Tour spinoff