Next year, Marvel is going the full YA on Freeform with the Cloak and Dagger live-action series. Fans of the classic incarnations of the characters may object to that, but this is very much a case of knowing your audience. So far, Marvel’s TV shows and films haven’t really tapped into that “young adult” audience in the way that The Hunger Games and Twilight did. Cloak and Dagger may not be a perfect fit for that genre, but it still fits better than most.
Freeform has debuted the first trailer for Cloak and Dagger, which features Aubrey Joseph as Tyrone Johnson and Olivia Holt as Tandy Bowen. It has to be said that the entire trailer appears to be a huge departure from their origin story in the comics, but we do see the beginnings of Tandy’s transformation into Dagger, as well as Tyrone wearing the signature hood of Cloak.
One of the key differences is that the romance between Tandy and Tyrone is played way up in the trailer, and the footage also suggests that they knew each other before they developed superpowers. In fact, it seems to hint that Tyrone saved Tandy’s life on the day that they were granted their abilities, but that also appears to be years before the series.
To better understand Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, it’s time to take a look at their early days in the Marvel Universe as supporting characters for Spider-Man. It’s true, Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan envisioned the titular duo as foils for Spidey, as their war on crime was far more violent than his own. Eventually, Cloak and Dagger proved to be so popular with fans that they received their own miniseries; which fleshed out their origin as teenage runaways from opposite worlds who befriended each other. Some of that appears to be intact in the trailer, but it leaves out the part where Cloak and Dagger were subjected to experimental drugs alongside other teenage runaways before making a very dramatic escape. The short version of their powers is that Dagger can manifest knives made out of pure light and she can even glow at will. As for Cloak, he is the living gateway to the Dark Dimension. In the comics, he often uses that power to imprison bad guys within that living darkness.
What caused Cloak and Dagger’s powers to manifest? There’s been a demon or two who have taken credit for that, and for years, Cloak and Dagger were canonically mutants. That even led them to join the X-Men for a brief period before someone at Marvel decided that the best way to position Cloak and Dagger for an adaptation was by retconning their status as mutants and free them up from being stuck under the deal that 20th Century Fox has for the X-Men film rights.
To be honest, the Cloak and Dagger origin really did need to be updated, since it was very much of its time in the ’80s. But it’s probably the romance angle that has Marvel purists up in arms. The truth is that most of the love story in Cloak and Dagger comic books has been the pretty one-sided love that Tyrone had for Tandy. They were both devoted to each other, but it’s only been fairly recently that Cloak and Dagger have explored their mutual romantic feelings. However, that love may be the key to making this series work on television after so many years in development Hell. We’re certainly curious to see how it all plays out when the first season of Cloak and Dagger debuts on Freeform in 2018.
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Image Credits: Freeform/Marvel Comics