The Marvel Cinematic Universe has grown tremendously since it first began in 2008 with Iron Man, now including a total of 14 films – the most recent of which, Doctor Strange, introduced magic and mysticism to the world. On the television side, Marvel first spinoff, ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is currently in its fourth season, with an Inhumans series set to debut on the network later this year. On Netflix, Marvel will increase its output of series in the MCU’s street-level corner with the debuts of Iron Fist, The Defenders, and The Punisher in 2017. But, even more projects are in development from Marvel TV, including The Runaways at Hulu and Cloak and Dagger at Freeform.
Freeform ordered Cloak and Dagger to series in spring 2016, but little development was reported on the project until recently. Late last year, it was revealed Cloak and Dagger had been moved from a 2017 premiere to 2018, and new reports claim the show will begin filming next month in New Orleans, Louisiana, having received the working title of Shadows. Now, we may know the production budget of Cloak and Dagger – which is notable for its similarity to Marvel’s Netflix series.
Local Louisiana newspaper The Times-Picayune reported last month [h/t Comic Book Movie] that Disney plans to film “Shadows – season 1” in the state in early 2017 with a production budget of $42 million. Although speculation at the time pointed to the series being a Star Wars property, the recent report that Cloak and Dagger’s working title is Shadows confirms this project is Freeform’s upcoming Marvel series – and where the production will take place.
To put Cloak and Dagger’s budget into perspective, Marvel’s initial deal with Netflix for its five series – Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and The Defenders – had a budget of $200 million according to Variety. If each series had an equal budget (despite The Defenders being a miniseries of eight episodes rather than a 13-episode season), that works out to $40 million per show. Although the exact budgets of each Netflix series and whether the $200 million was distributed evenly hasn’t been released, this seems to indicate Cloak and Dagger’s budget may be similar to that of the Marvel Netflix series.
That said, these numbers depend upon the episode order for Cloak and Dagger’s first season. Freeform is relatively inconsistent with the number of episodes the network orders for seasons of its original shows. Shadowhunters received a 13-episode first season, but the order was reportedly expanded to 20 for its sophomore outing; Beyond, the network’s latest offering, received a 10-episode debut season. Although Freeform’s less effects heavy series (Switched at Birth, The Fosters) have larger episode orders, it seems likely Cloak and Dagger will receive between 10-13 episodes for its first season, meaning the budget will in fact rival Marvel’s Netflix series.
Still, little is known for sure about Marvel and Freeform’s Cloak and Dagger series. Daredevil producer Joe Pokaski is serving as showrunner, and the initial report of the show’s order stated it will follow the interracial romance of Tandy aka Dagger and Tyrone aka Cloak. Since then, Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb explained the show landing at Freeform based on the network’s younger-skewing demographic falling in line with Cloak and Dagger’s younger lead characters. Nevertheless, if Cloak and Dagger is expected to begin filming next month, we’ll likely learn more about the series in the coming weeks – including who will play the titular characters.
Cloak & Dagger will reportedly debut on Freeform in 2018.