Back in 2011, Marvel Television, the arm of Marvel Entertainment (then recently purchased by The Walt Disney Company) was looking give the world more of what they saw in the movies with Marvel Studios. Just a few years before, the first “Iron Man” film was released to wild acclaim and with it, a new excitement for superheroes in entertainment.
According to Jeph Loeb, the person tapped to head up Marvel Television, that meant creating content that would compliment the Marvel grandness that people were seeing on the Big Screen. Overall, that strategy has paid off well, with the department creating multiple seasons of Marvel’s more “obscure” characters. “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and “Iron Fist” all came together (like the Avengers did) to create “The Defenders” series for Netflix also to audience raves.
But with all that success, what was next for Marvel TV? Go back to their roots.
One of the series that didn’t make it off the drawing board back in 2011 featured the Marvel comic book characters Cloak & Dagger. It got held up in creative development and because of the brand changes that were happening at what was then called ABC Family (now Freeform).
“But timing was everything,” according to Jeph Loeb, who sat down with us at WonderCon 2018, along with the cast and crew of the upcoming “Cloak & Dagger” TV series that is finally making it to air on Freeform in early June.
“Cloak & Dagger” follows two teenagers, played by Olivia Holt (Tandy Bowen / Dagger) and Aubrey Joseph (Tyrone Johnson / Cloak) who run away due to their own life situations to ultimately meet and acquire superpowers that balance light and darkness. Plus, they end up liking each other. It sounds like a series that was made for Freeform!
While we won’t spoil the beginnings of the series, Loeb and company did share some key points to help tease it.
It follows the comics, with some timely adjustments. “We did some character scenarios switching and story adjustments to better suit what’s happening in our world,” said showrunner Joe Pokaski. “Other than that, the origin story is taken straight from the comics, which we love.”
It all takes place in the MCU, like the other Marvel TV series. Loeb said, “It all takes place in New Orleans, which is unique because it feels far removed from the “superhero” nature of New York City. But not too far to make it feel believable and familiar.”
It will probably be the most culturally reflective Marvel TV series to date. Commenting on the bi-racial nature of the show’s leads, the pilot episode’s director Gina Prince-Bythewood said, “I’m purposefully aware of what’s happening in the world. You can expect that the tone of this first episode to set the tone for the rest of the season.”
It’s an entry point for teens today to get into the Marvel hype. “While it may be ‘superhero-centric’, it is a series about teens overcoming things they go through in their everyday,” said Olivia Holt (Dagger). Aubrey Joseph (Cloak) added, “So hopefully teens watch it and not just come away loving Marvel, but loving the process of being who they are and what they can become.”
Marvel’s “Cloak & Dagger” airs exclusively on Freeform.