Each Thursday on Freeform, Marvel Studios is thrilling audiences with a new, original television series – Cloak & Dagger.
Just days ago I had the opportunity to sit down for an exclusive interview with two members of the cast in addition to Executive Producer Joe Pokaski and Vice President of Original Programming at Marvel Studios, Tom Lieber. It was an eyeopener for this Marvel fan and I share all below.
(Disney, Marvel Studios, Freeform & Disney Junior invited me to California on an all-expenses paid trip, in exchange for our coverage of events, including Cloak & Dagger cast interviews. As always, all opinions are my own. Affiliate links in post.)
Cloak & Dagger Cast Interviews & More
Marvel’s New Series is Intense
Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger is a coming-of-age series based on the beloved comic book characters.
Tyrone Johnson and Tandy Bowen come from starkly different backgrounds, each growing up with a secret they never dared share with another soul.
I sat down a little over a week ago to prepare for interviews. I hadn’t yet watched the show, as of tonight just 5 episodes into the series, so I pulled up the premiere and proceeded to be blown away.
Intense is exactly the word I would use to describe Cloak & Dagger. There is no substitute. While we are dealing with humans who are just now discovering their powers, it seems more real to me than my favorite Marvel movies I see in theaters. Maybe that’s the magic of television. I’m not sure.
What I can tell you is this – it will grip you. The storyline is clever, intriguing, and on the edge. The plot is smart and for someone not familiar with these comic book characters, I have no idea where this is going – and I LOVE that.
The plot topics? Well, you are dealing with mystery, death, family dynamics, parenting, drugs, crime, love, loss, and more.
Comic Book Characters Brought to Life
Cloak & Dagger is an adaptation of the Marvel characters of the same name whose story is aimed squarely at young adults (I’ll chat more about that below).
This story follows Tandy Bowen and Tyrone Johnson, two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers.
Tandy can emit light daggers and has the ability with a touch to see one’s hopes. Tyrone, on the other hand, has the ability to engulf others in darkness and has the ability to see one’s fears.
As far as superhero costumes, it was mentioned that Episode 4 gave a hint as to that. I saw what they are talking about, did you?
It’s Not for Children – ADULT CONTENT
While there are children in the show (flashback scenes), this is not a television show for children. At all. Remember the word I used – intense, but let me get more specific.
The show is incredibly well done, and while I think some hard to watch scenes are necessary for the plot, there are many scenes which are unnecessary to the extreme they go. Everyone loves Marvel, and when I left for my press trip I had to make sure under no uncertain circumstances was my tween to watch the DVR’d episodes of Cloak & Dagger.
Why? In just the very first episode I watched a character snort drugs, watched a very active sex scene (no nudity but it was intense), and watched a rape in progress. The episodes following the premiere continue with intense scenes. It’s very adult content.
Marvel Studios’ newest show is breaking records already. In fact, the debut of Cloak & Dagger ranked as Freeform’s biggest series launch in over two years and stands as Freeform’s most-watched drama telecast on any night since theseries finale of “Pretty Little Liars”.
Not bad at all!
And while season 1 is just 10 episodes, I predict that we will soon hear about a season 2 because of this success.
Top Notch Cast
Freeform’s “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” stars Olivia Holt as Tandy, Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone, Gloria Reuben as Mrs. Johnson, Miles Mussenden as Mr. Johnson, Andrea Roth as Melissa, Carl Lundstedt as Liam, Emma Lahana as Detective O’Reilly, Jaime Zevallos as Father Delgado and J.D. Evermore as Detective Connors.
New Orleans Setting
Not only is the background setting of the show New Orleans, but the cast and crew are based in New Orleans as well.
Why New Orleans?
Executive Producer Joe Pokaski simply said he thought that New York City certainly had a lot of superheroes already, so it was already well-protected. New Orleans – not so much.
So very true!
With a well balanced writer’s room (one that is diverse both ethnically and with gender), Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger is tackling some big things with a goal of “telling everyone’s stories through the perspective of specific people”.
Surprisingly, the plot was written about “ten minutes after Disney bought Marvel”.
Sitting down with actors who play some of the parents in Cloak & Dagger was a highlight of the morning.
On Parenting (with some great advice)
We visited with Andrea Roth (who plays Tandy’s mother, Melissa Bowen) and Miles Mussenden (who plays Tyrone’s father, Michael Johnson), who shared with us how incredibly supportive the entire cast is and talked about the season (careful not to bring up any spoilers)!
One topic of discussion – parenting. It is clear that Cloak & Dagger tells different parent stories than you have heard or seen before.
Andrea Roth plays a mother who has had a significant, unexpected loss, and there are consequences that she is dealing with – both from the loss and her behavior afterwards. Miles Mussenden plays a father who also has had a significant, unexpected loss. Similar loss. Different behavior. Different consequences.
Parenting issues arise for both of their characters (despite one parent seemingly good, and one seemingly bad).
With the mother/daughter relationship this season, Pokaski said in reality it’s “secretly heroic, raw and real”. He said that he had heard that the two most difficult times in a woman’s life are when they are 16 years old, and when their daughter turns 16 years old and I think we see that play out onscreen.
Miles Mussenden talked about how with trauma and loss there is some level of PTSD that never goes away and his television family is struggling to deal with it. Even though Mussenden is dealing with some pretty heavy-handed issues on the show, he is applying it at home (he even brought his older daughter to our interview).
Mussenden talked about the importance of talking with our kids. Asking the questions, “Who are you hanging around?” and teaching them to always be aware of your surroundings and conscious of your actions, attire, etc. As he commented on specific scenes in Cloak & Dagger where the parents were simply unaware of what their kids were up to, it was a great reminder to pay attention more.
SCOOP: Pokaski mentioned that redemption will be a big theme this season, though it will be a bit of a climb.
Tonight is episode 5! You can watch all 4 previous episodes now on Hulu, On Demand, or here!
Storyline: As we head into the middle of the season, Tandy is consumed with getting answers about the Roxxon cover up. To get the answers she is looking for, Tandy tests out her power to gain new insights. Tyrone, on the other hand, is focusing on being a normal kid as the basketball state finals approach. With so much weighing on him lately, can he truly push everything to the side and win the big game for Billy? Meanwhile, Det. O’Reilly looks into the city’s drug problems to get some answers of her own. Episode 5 of “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” airs Thursday, June 28 (8:00 – 9:01 p.m. EDT) on Freeform.
Let’s take a look…
Thursdays on Freeform at 8pm/7c.
SCOOP: Watch on Twitter for some clues to episodes and things to watch for!
Check out my other posts from the #AntManandTheWasp blogger trip:
- Ant-Man and The Wasp Spoiler Free Review
- Ant-Man and The Wasp Press Junket – details on my itinerary!
Next up: Paul Rudd interview!