How the Cloak and Dagger TV Series Will Update the Characters’ Origin Stories for 2018

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SYFY Wire recently spoke to showrunner Joe Pokaski and stars Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt from Freeform’s Cloak and Dagger about their vision for the show. As part of the interview, the team explained how they’ve changed the characters’ backgrounds and powers from the comics source material.

“We looked a lot at the first 12 issues of the [comics] series in particular, which I thought was great,” Pokaski said. “The idea of these two lost kids is fantastic … But honestly, I think it was weirdly progressive work for its time, weirdly sexist and racist for ours. So we had to change it a little.”

“It’s an honor, it’s a privilege, and it’s scary as hell,” he continued, “because you don’t want to mess it up. But Marvel has been fantastic in letting me take the essence of Tandy and Tyrone and really take them into 2018.”

In addition to moving the show from New York City to New Orleans, Freeform’s Cloak and Dagger has changed Tyrone’s background so that he comes from a relatively well-off family. “TV has a very important place in society,” said Joseph, who plays Tyrone on the series, “and it shows us stereotypes and things of that sort. We are used to seeing black families who aren’t well off and a household without both parents. So it’s great that we still get to see a black family in a good light, but it changes the element of the show completely. But it still has that origin feel.”

“In the original Tyrone story, he had a stutter and was unable to stop his friend from being shot,” explained Pokaski. “We changed that a little, but I definitely wanted to talk about police brutality, about the quick trigger finger on boys in hoodies that doesn’t seem to be going away… It’s something we have to deal with; the young boy with the hooded sweatshirt needs a hero, and we need to see ourselves in him.”

Pokaski also added that, as far as Tandy is concerned, Cloak and Dagger is “a strongly feminist show. We’re gonna deal with opiate abuse, we’re gonna deal with what it’s like to be a woman.”

“We definitely have put a more current situation on these two characters, which I think is really nice,” said Holt, who plays Tandy on the show. “I think it’s gonna be really great for the audience to relate to and feel like they’re not alone and to feel they could be Tandy or Tyrone. That’s super important for us in 2018, especially with everything that’s happening now. We want to be able to impact people and move them and make them feel something that is bigger than ourselves.”

I’m glad that the new series was aware of how sensitive many of its topics were, and I’m glad that they were thoughtful about updating an often-problematic comic for the modern world. Time will tell how successful they were, but hearing that they were careful and conscientious with the material is an encouraging first step.

Cloak and Dagger will premiere on Freeform on June 7, 2018.

(via SYFY Wire; image: Freeform)

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