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How Marvel's 'Cloak & Dagger' shifts the male-female/black-white superhero equation

How Marvel's 'Cloak & Dagger' shifts the male-female/black-white superhero equation
Gina Prince-Bythewood poses for a photo with husband Reggie Rock Bythewood. Prince-Bythewood directed the first episode of Marvel television's "Cloak & Dagger." (Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times)

Marvel television gave fans a surprise screening of the first episode of its upcoming Freeform series "Cloak & Dagger" at WonderCon in Anaheim over the weekend. The capacity crowd also welcomed the show's stars, Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph, as well as director Gina Prince-Bythewood, showrunner and executive producer Joe Pokaski and Marvel TV executive vice president Jeph Loeb.

"Cloak & Dagger" follows Tandy Bowen (Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Joseph) as they navigate real-world teenage obstacles on top of discovering they have superpowers and a connection.

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When asked about why she chose to take on "Cloak & Dagger," Prince-Bythewood answered that there were "many reasons" including how "the script came with a Marvel stamp on it."

However, she said she was ultimately attracted to the project for more personal reasons.

"Three years ago, I was watching TV with my youngest son and he asked me why there are no superheroes that look like him," Prince-Bythewood said. "['Cloak & Dagger'] is a chance to tell a story about a young black boy and a young white woman as superheroes. The mother side of me and my boys, and the female side of me who wants to see female heroes — it was just a perfect situation."

Marvel TV's "Cloak & Dagger" panel at Wondercon 2018. From left, Marvel TV executive vice president Jeph Loeb, actors Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph, executive producer Joe Pokaski and director Gina Prince-Bythewood.
Marvel TV's "Cloak & Dagger" panel at Wondercon 2018. From left, Marvel TV executive vice president Jeph Loeb, actors Olivia Holt and Aubrey Joseph, executive producer Joe Pokaski and director Gina Prince-Bythewood. (Paul Butterfield / Getty Images)

Prince-Bythewood, who directed the series pilot and is also directing the upcoming "Spider-Man" spinoff "Silver & Black" for Sony, explained how she was specifically drawn to the story of Tandy and Tyrone.

"It was just a really exciting story to tell." she said. "The characters, the fact that they were so damaged but at the end of the day wanted hope. That's something absolutely important to me as well."

"I honestly think there is nobody like Tandy and Tyrone," Pokaski added. "There's something very special about the relationship between Tyrone and Tandy because they need each other. It's not a hero and a sidekick. It's two people who basically found the one person who understands them and it's so special. I thought it would be perfect for television."

Twitter: @tracycbrown

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