Marvel's Cloak and Dagger has passed the midway point of its inaugural run on Freeform, and the series is only going to get more intense in the countdown to the first season finale. Showrunner Joe Pokaski and his creative team have completely re-imagined the titular heroes created by Bill Mantlo and Ed Hannigan over three decades ago. The mythology may be different, but the characters remain. And according to Pokaski, more familiar threats from the comics may be on their way.
SYFY WIRE recently caught up with Pokaski to get his thoughts on the road so far, and a few teasers for the remaining four episodes of the season. But first, Pokaski explained why Aubrey Joseph's Tyrone/Cloak and Olivia Holt's Tandy/Dagger spent so much of the first half of the season in a slow burn relationship while the series focused on their individual stories.
"I wouldn't necessarily think of it as a slow burn," said Pokaski. "But I think the important thing for us was to make sure we understood them as individuals. What we wanted to do was make sure we understood what they were dealing with by themselves, so we could really appreciate why they needed each other. I felt like that was an update that the books might have needed."
"What the writers [and I] tried to do is really set up three acts of this particular season," continued Pokaski. "The first four episodes were Act 1, where we really got to understand Tandy and Tyrone as individuals. It culminated in their big discussion in the church that propelled them forward with Tyrone walking into the police station and Tandy getting locked on Roxxon."
Last week's sixth episode offered Tandy a glimpse at a life she might have had. At the same time, Tyrone saw what he could have become while trying to get close to Dwayne. According to Pokaski, the dual parallels between their stories was not a coincidence.
"The thesis of [episode six] was in a very non-Marvel way to look at the 'What If?' of Tandy and Tyrone," noted Pokaski. "You usually see women, even women who are daughters of scientists, become waitresses and reporters. It was something interesting to say 'well Tandy was the daughter of a brilliant scientist, wouldn't she become a brilliant scientist if the table was set correctly?' Mina is that 'What If?' example for Tandy. But for the fact that Dwayne was 'what if Tyrone stayed in the old neighborhood? What could he have risen to?'"
While Cloak and Dagger's comic book villains have yet to appear on the series, Pokaski dropped an intriguing hint that they may be coming to the show much sooner than expected.
"We're saving some of the more fantastical [villains]," admitted Pokaski. "I think we wanted to start off very grounded when we first started talking about this show, something that Marvel does really well, it has to be the world the way it is. That's where we started, and as you'll see, especially from episode seven on, we turn up the heat quite a bit. In episode seven, we're entering the mind of a catatonic man to experience what happened on the rig that night."
When asked about the classic Cloak and Dagger villain, Mister Jip, Pokaski implied that we may have already seen him.
"You didn't see him in episode six? It's possible you did," said Pokaski. "I'm not spoiling anything, I'm not committing to anything. But you should go back and look carefully at the scene where Tyrone goes into Kev's dream and [sees] that kid with the backpack's fears. I have a feeling if we're lucky enough to have a season two, a lot your favorites will be making appearances."
Pokaski was more evasive about whether Emma Lahana's Detective O'Reilly would echo her counterpart and transform into Mayhem. But he did indicate that Ally Maki's Mina will be sticking around.
"I think what Emma Lahana is doing as Detective O'Reilly is fantastic and we're excited to give her more to do," noted Pokaski. "[And] Ally Maki just brings such joy to every scene you see her in, so she's going to remain as a close friend for Tandy and a reflection for how hopeful Tandy can be."
Looking back at the first six episodes, Pokaski told us that he sees the ongoing stories as emotional journeys for both the show's leading characters while picking the highlights to date.
"I see it as a big climb," related Pokaski. "They both start out in these emotional holes and they're climbing up, pulling each other out. I think the highlights are the big discussion in the church from episode four. For Tandy, as silly as it sounds, a lot of her call to action and becoming a hero happened [in episode six]. They were subtle moments, but when she says 'I'll look too,' while she's walking through that swamp looking for the bee or when she decides to not touch Mina's hand, I think that was kind of a big deal. Tyrone, the very last scene of episode six, I think really defines [him]. He's kind of being broken down and doesn't even have a friend that can even hug him right now."
Now that Auntie Chantelle and Evita have revealed the prophecy surrounding Tandy and Tyrone, the series myriad storylines will begin to converge in the next few episodes.
"What we're doing, hopefully successfully, is putting together a complication for Tandy and Tyrone's life from three different places," said Pokaski. "Obviously, the corrupt police force, which O'Reilly is helping bear that story, understanding how the police are coming upon Tyrone and how's he's struggling against it. There's Roxxon, which is messing with the environment quite a bit and also the company responsible for taking Tandy's life away on a couple of levels.
"Then there's this prophecy, this spiritual cycle that comes around once in a lifetime and only two people can save it," he added. "We're driving all three of those head-on by the time we get to episodes nine and ten."
"I think some of the big moments that I'm very excited about are [coming in] episode eight," added Pokaski. "[That] becomes an emotional origin story for both of them. And we see them both tackle each of their problems. One of them will succeed tremendously, one of them will fail miserably. I think that's a big moment for Tandy and Tyrone."
When SYFY WIRE spoke with Joseph and Holt at WonderCon, they shared their desire to wear Cloak and Dagger's comic book costumes. But it sounds like only one of them will get their wish this season.
"I think we are going to have one out of two fantastic comic book costume origins by the end of the season," admitted Pokaski. "It may be what you're expecting or it may not be. But I think we will be building slowly towards that. I always want to err on the side of feeling like real life. So as these costumes evolve and these powers evolve, I want to make sure that they happen so gradually that it never seems like all of a sudden someone is throwing latex on."
Finally, Pokaski gave us a breakdown of what we can expect to see in the final episodes of the year.
"seven will be their first episode where they are pretty much both together the whole run," said Pokaski. "But also, this is kind of where all of the stories come to a head, whether it's Roxxon, whether it's the police department, or whether it's the mysterious energy underneath New Orleans."
"[Episodes] eight, nine, and ten: every single word you've seen so far has added up to this," continued Pokaski. "Evita, in episode three, when she takes Tyrone on that walking voodoo tour, talks about two brothers who had a duel [in a hurricane]. We will see that [duel] over the course of the last three episodes. Hopefully it will be our act 3 superhero moment where everything we've seen emotionally gets a little stronger in the context of the genre."
Cloak and Dagger Season 1 airs Thursday nights on Freeform.