Freeform has debuted the very first trailer for Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, which is set to air on the channel in 2018. Starring Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph as the titular superheroes, the series is aimed more toward the Young Adult market, though undoubtedly it will appeal to all; whether fans of the superhero genre or not. But what’s it all about?
Cloak and Dagger made their debut in Marvel Comics’ Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man, in 1982. After a number of Spider-Man appearances, the duo were given their own limited series, and its success prompted Marvel to produce an ongoing bi-monthly Cloak and Dagger comic series, debuting in 1985.
The Cloak and Dagger comic series centers on Tyrone “Ty” Johnson (Cloak) and Tandy Bowen (Dagger), who meet as runaways in New York City. Ty has a debilitating stutter, which prevented him from stopping the police from shooting his friend, while Tandy has run away to escape her overbearing mother. The pair form a friendship, and when Tandy accepts the offer of accommodation from a group of strangers, Ty goes with her. The pair are delivered to a criminal chemist, who is developing a new brand of synthetic heroin. He tests it on Ty and Tandy, who manage to flee, but the drug somehow imbues both with superhero powers that work in conjunction with one another.
Ty finds himself engulfed in a darkness, which only eases when Tandy is present with her dagger of light. Calling themselves Cloak and Dagger, the pair set about trapping drug dealers – Tandy strikes them down with her light dagger before Ty engulfs them in his (physical and metaphorical) cloak of darkness. The duo become vigilantes, hunting down and killing the man (Simon Marshall) who injected them with the synthetic heroin, before embarking on a war against all drug dealers.
Throughout their comic book appearances, Cloak and Dagger encounter a wide range of other Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Kingpin, and Doctor Strange. They also become members of Captain America’s faction during the Civil War era.
In April 2016, Marvel Television announced its plans for a Cloak and Dagger TV series. The show will air on Freeform, formerly known as ABC Family. In 2017, it was announced that Cloak and Dagger will consist of ten episodes. The show looks set to be an angsty-teen drama heavily focused on romance, all wrapped up in the superhero genre, of course.
Cloak and Dagger has Joe Pokaski (Heroes) as showrunner, with Jeph Loeb (Head of Marvel Television), and Jim Chory (The Defenders) as executive producers. The series is set in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, and differs somewhat in its setup to the comic book origins: instead of meeting as runaways, Tandy and Ty are connected by a mysterious childhood incident, which is hinted at in the first trailer released. The pair then reconnect later on in life, and Cloak and Dagger follows them as they deal with their own everyday lives, as well as the burden of their superpowers. The connection they share is further complicated by the fact that they find themselves falling in love, and given that the role of Liam, Tandy’s boyfriend, has also been cast, it’s safe to assume that won’t be plain sailing.
Given the subject material, Cloak and Dagger should be right at home on Freeform, and it’s good to see the YA audience being catered for, since Marvel have already carved out a strong niche in adult superhero TV shows with their Netflix offerings. Freeform also have another Marvel show in the works, New Warriors, starring Squirrel Girl and a band of misfit superheroes, which will be Marvel’s first half-hour comedy series.
Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen (Dagger): Holt is a Disney channel stalwart, even though she is only 19. She made her debut in Disney XD’s martial arts show, Kickin’ It, which she landed owing to her gymnastics skills. Those skills will also stand her in good stead for the action scenes in Cloak and Dagger. From there, Holt moved to the Disney Channel’s I Didn’t Do It, before landing the role of Tandy. Holt is also a singer, and her EP was released on Hollywood Records in 2016. Basically, she’s a very key member of the Disney family, hence her taking lead in a Marvel show to be shown on a Disney subsidiary.
Aubrey Joseph as Ty Johnson (Cloak): Joseph has had small roles in TV shows such as Law and Order, and The Night Of. He also appeared in the 2015 movie, Run All Night, which starred Liam Neeson. Joseph’s part was only small, and Cloak and Dagger will be his first major role, and likely to propel him onto even greater things.
Andrea Roth as Melissa Bowen, Tandy’s mother: Roth is best known for her role as Janet Gavin, in the TV series, Rescue Me.
Gloria Reuben as Adina Johnson, Ty’s mother: Reuben is best known as Jeanie Boulet in ER, and Dr. Krista Gordon on Mr. Robot.
Cloak and Dagger series only started shooting in February, 2017, so it’s likely that most of the footage shown in the trailer comes from the pilot episode. Even if it all does, it’s still impressive, and the trailer sets the series up nicely. In fact, the trailer is a lot more impressive than many had expected – showcasing a darker tone than might usually be expected on a family channel. That said, YA programming is making a name for itself with its no-holds barred approach. Shows such as 13 Reasons Why, Teen Wolf and New Girl have produced such compelling work that they have held a broad appeal to everyone, and Cloak and Dagger looks set to follow suit. Based on what we’ve seen in the trailer, Cloak and Dagger looks to be a worthy member of the Marvel Television Universe, easily rivaling the kind of quality programming we’ve come to expect from Marvel’s Netflix offerings.
Cloak and Dagger is expected to arrive in 2018 on Freeform.