Inside Look at Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER

Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER is a coming-of-age television series airing on Freeform. Based on the Marvel “Cloak & Dagger” comic, the series follows Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) – two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened by and awakened to newly discovered superpowers which are mysteriously linked to one another. The series airs Thursdays at 8 pm, and currently has the best-ever digital debut in Freeform’s history.

Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER premiered June 7, and is currently mid-way through the series’ first 10 episode season. During the #AntManAndTheWaspEvent, we screened episode 5, that airs tonight, June 28 at 8pm ET. We find Tandy continuing to search for answers to the Roxxon cover-up while gaining new insights on her powers. Tyrone is leading his high school basketball team to the state finals. After the screening, we met with Executive Producer and Showrunner Joe Pokaski, Tom Lieber, VP Original Programming for Marvel Television, Andrea Roth (“Rescue Me,” “Blue Bloods”) who portrays Melissa Bowen (Tandy’s mom), and Miles Mussenden (“Bloodline,” “Queen Sugar”) who stars as Tyrone’s father, Michael Johnson.

MARVEL'S CLOAK & DAGGER

L-R: Joe Pokaski (Executive Producer and Showrunner), Andrea Roth (Melissa Bowen, Tandy’s mom), Miles Mussenden (Michael Johnson, Tyrone’s father), Tom Lieber (VP Original Programming for Marvel Television), photo by Dave Parfitt

CLOAK & DAGGER is not a series meant for young children. Those familiar with Marvel’s Netflix television shows like “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and “The Punisher” will recognize the gritty look of CLOAK & DAGGER. Think of Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER as “Jessica Jones” lite.  Comics serve as a prism to make commentary on society, mentioned Marvel TV’s Tom Lieber, and Executive Producer Joe Pokaski has written a number of those Marvel Comics as well as writing for NBC’s “Heroes.” Pokaski elaborated,

“CLOAK & DAGGER was the first pilot I ever wrote 5 years ago. It was written for ABC Family right before Disney bought Marvel. It sat on the shelf, and I went on to work on “Marvel’s Daredevil” to make it gritty. Once ABC Family became Freeform, Marvel and Freeform were more willing to embrace that gritty nature of CLOAK & DAGGER.”

CLOAK & DAGGER certainly doesn’t shy away from difficult social issues including police brutality, racism, sex, alcohol, drugs, and violence. However at the core of CLOAK & DAGGER are family relationships; families that are dealing with their own traumas. Joe Pokaski said he once heard the two most difficult points in a women’s life is when she’s 16 and when her daughter is 16. Melissa and Tandy Bowen present an interesting mother/daughter relationship, and Melissa Bowen’s story arc is one of the most powerful of the series.

MARVEL'S CLOAK & DAGGER

Freeform’s “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” stars Andrea Roth as Melissa. (Freeform/Frank Ockenfels)

Andrea Roth who plays Melissa Bowen on screen admits her character is not a good parent and needs to ease off the booze and drugs. However, throughout the series we learn that Melissa Bowen has made a powerful sacrifice for her daughter Tandy that motivates her actions.

MARVEL'S CLOAK & DAGGER

Freeform’s “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” stars Miles Mussenden as Mr. Johnson. (Freeform/Frank Ockenfels)

Miles Mussenden is the actor who portrays Tyrone’s father, Michael Johnson. We learn the Johnson on-screen family is dealing with PTSD and many emotional issues, and those on-screen issues are not so different than the real-life ones Miles Mussenden deals with a parent. Mussenden explained,

“My son is 11 and goes to a party in a public park. They’re playing with toy machine guns that look very real. I had to stay, and noticed another mother of color stayed too. We need to talk about a lot of things regarding safety and being aware of your surroundings. ‘Show me your company, and I’ll tell you who you are’ is frequently heard in our house.”

MARVEL'S CLOAK & DAGGER

Freeform’s “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” stars Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone Johnson/Cloak and Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen/Dagger. (Freeform/Alfonso Bresciani)

Of course, Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER centers on Tandy and Tyrone. Joe Pokaski said, “the characters of Tandy and Tyrone have always stood out to me ever since I first met them in the pages of Marvel comics when I was a boy.” Olivia Holt (former Disney Channel star and Hollywood Records recording artist) and Aubrey Joseph (‘Run All Night,’ ‘The Night Of’) star in the title roles. To find their leads Pokaski explained, “We had 1,000 or so people read for each role. The weekend before we left for New Orleans to shoot, Olivia and Aubrey were asked to improv together, and it was like the ‘Spider-Man’ scene where the hairs stick up on your arm – the characters leapt off the page.”

MARVEL'S CLOAK & DAGGER

While Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER is not for younger audiences, older teens will appreciate the theme of a pair of young adults navigating life’s issues of relationships, loss and race, and forming their own identities. You can catch up on all episodes of Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER on the Freeform website.

Have you watched Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER? What did you think? Leave a comment below to continue the discussion. For more family movie news, be sure to follow Adventures by Daddy on instagramtwitter and “like” our facebook page too.

About Dave Parfitt

Married, father of two girls, and living in the heart of the Finger Lakes. I'm a runner with a PhD in neuroscience and a passion for travel.