Cloak and Dagger started life as cult-favorite Marvel comic book characters created in he early ’80s by writer Bill Mantlo and artist Ed Hannigan. While they’ve maintained a fanbase, they’ve spent much of the past 30 years in relatively obscure corners of the Marvel Universe — though that looks to change in a big way starting this June, with the debut of the new live-action Freeform series, Cloak & Dagger.
Friday afternoon a WonderCon in Anaheim, the show was the subject of a spotlight panel hosted by the Head of Marvel Television, Jeph Loeb, alongside cast members Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt — the titular Cloak & Dagger, respectively — director Gina Prince-Bythewood and showrunner Joe Pokaski.
Loeb asked Prince-Bythewood how the pilot script touched her personally as a mother. “Three years ago, I was watching TV with my young son, and he asked me why there were no superheroes that looked like him.” Prince-Bythewood said, which made her eager to take on the opportunity to direct a story starring a young Black male hero and a young white female hero. “The mother side of me, and the female side of me who wants to see female superheroes, it was just a perfect situation. It was a really exciting story to tell, the fact that they were so damaged, but at the end of the day, wanted hope.”
Asked what drew Pokaski to the characters, he answers, “I honestly think there’s nobody like Tandy and Tyrone. I remember picking up Spectacular Spider-Man and thinking, ‘Who are these two?’ They looked like no one else.”
“There’s something special about the relationship between Tandy and Tyone, because they need each other,” Pokaski continued. “I seemed perfect for television.”
“With this being my first lead role in anything, it was a new experience for me,” Joseph said. “To have a friend to look out for me, and make sure I felt safe and comfortable — I’m glad I have [Holt] as my Dagger. It was meant to be. And I don’t say that lightly.”
“From the get-go, Aubrey and I just had an awesome connection,” Holt said. “We knew it was something special, and an experience that I think we’re going to be able to hold on to forever. We both feel really lucky.”
Loeb asked about shooting the series in New Orleans, rather than New York City, where the comic book characters are based. “First, I was really concerned, because I don’t think New York has enough superheroes,” Pokaski joked. “There’s a magic to it, there’s a specialness to it,” Pokaski said of New Orleans. “It’s also a city that refuses to die. There’s so much history underneath it — I Think it was the perfect place for Tandy and Tyrone to be.”
“It’s great to shoot the actual city the show takes place in,” Prince-Bythewood said. “The core of this is authenticity — that’s what we wanted to bring to the show. New Orleans is such a beautiful city, it’s so colorful, it has beauty and it also has heartbreak.”
Joseph said he enjoyed shooting stunt scenes, as that’s when he felt most like a superhero. Holt agreed. “I don’t shoot light daggers out of my hand every day, so, pretty cool that I get to do that on set.”
The panel then moved to a screening of the full pilot — following that, there was only enough time for the panelists to return for a quick photo op. Check back with CBR for a full preview of the Cloak & Dagger pilot!
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