After existing in the realm of film for a number of years establishing the world of The Avengers, the Marvel Cinematic Universe officially extended to television in 2013 with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. on ABC. The series was followed by fellow ABC and Captain America: The First Avenger spinoff Agent Carter, then Netflix launched its corner of the MCU with Daredevil, later followed by Jessica Jones. Now, though a number of series were in the works at ABC, the network isn’t currently moving forward with anymore Marvel shows – and canceled Agent Carter this spring.
However, the television side of the MCU is still expanding, with Luke Cage set to premiere on Netflix next month and a series based on Cloak and Dagger having received the green light on Freeform earlier this year. This is the first time Marvel will work with the youth oriented network – though they made the move to appeal to a much larger demographic by changing their name from ABC Family to Freeform earlier in 2016 – and Marvel TV head Jeph Loeb explained why Cloak and Dagger was chosen for this particular platform.
During a Marvel event at the Television Critics Association summer press tour this year, as reported by /Film, Loeb spoke about why the content of a Cloak and Dagger series – as well as the ages of its main characters – appealed to Freeform:
“It’s a love story that happens to have characters that have always traditionally been in that age group. It’s not like we took something and made it into a YA. It speaks to a YA audience and is a YA property. Would I do Punisher on Freeform? I don’t think that’s going to connect the same way.”
At the time of its announcement, Cloak and Dagger was ordered straight to series by Freeform, meaning the usual pilot creation/review process was forgone and an entire first season of the show will be put into production (this is not unusual for the network), though no other forward movement has been reported. Additionally, a brief breakdown of Cloak and Dagger teased a young adult romantic drama series centered on Tyrone Johnson a.k.a. Cloak and Tandy Bowen a.k.a. Dagger – both of whom would also be dealing with their supernatural powers.
Certainly, Loeb has a point that Cloak and Dagger would feel at home among Freeform’s other programming, which includes Pretty Little Liars and Shadowhunters, two series adapted from young adult novels. Considering Tyrone and Tandy have traditionally been teenagers in the comics – 17- and 16-years old, respectively – they fit within Freeform’s target “Becomers” audience of ages 14-34. Plus, the partnership with the network (which exists under the ABC/Disney umbrella along with Marvel) may pave the way for more Marvel Comics series on Freeform.
That said, fans of Cloak and Dagger may feel Loeb is doing the series a disservice by implying a show about teenagers couldn’t be relatable to many of the same viewers who tuned into Daredevil season 2 to see the introduction of Jon Bernthal’s portrayal of The Punisher. Still, as Loeb additionally said at this summer’s TCAs while speaking about an Agent Carter revival, Marvel TV is beholden to what the television networks want to air. Between the characters and content within the Cloak and Dagger series along with Freeform’s typical content, the partnership with Marvel TV may open up a whole new side of the MCU appealing to a younger audience.
We’ll keep you updated on Cloak and Dagger as more information becomes available.