When news broke last week that Marvel Studios had secured writer/director Joss Whedon not only to direct Avengers 2, but to also join the brain trust developing Marvel television shows, fans were, in a word, overjoyed. Speculation was already pretty widespread that Whedon would return for a second Avengers film, but seeing him also help kickstart Marvel’s television ambitions was icing on the cake. When I first head of the news, one unique Marvel Comic above all else came into view:
Cloak & Dagger.
Although these street-wise runaways have never been able to create a permanent place (or title) for themselves on comic shelves, they’re one of Marvel’s most popular second-tier characters. And I’d wager that, like Blade, they have the potential to be more popular outside comics than they ever had the chance of being in.
A lot of what could be the foundation for a successful Cloak & Dagger series already existed way back in the duo’s original 1983 miniseries by Bill Manto and Rick Leonardi. Two runaways on the run from their past and a potentially darker future cross paths and become each other’s only solace when they’ve tricked into testing out an experimental street drug that unlocks powers that are both a curse and a blessing. With those powers, Cloak and Dagger look to prevent others from following in their path and try to find their own, unaware their deeper feelings towards each other.
Cloaked in supernatural (and sometimes biblical) overtones, a Cloak & Dagger series could be akin to the brotherly drama Supernatural mixed with classic detective work like Kolchak. It could follow the “case of the week” formula, but also with a broader storyline developing over the course of the series.
As for setting, I’d follow up on the rumored New Orleans locale Marvel’s previously pictured for a Cloak & Dagger movie adaptation and use it here. New Orleans has long been a destination for runaways, and it would provide a more memorable backdrop than the stereotypical streets of New York (or is it Vancouver?).
Although Joss Whedon’s taking part in Marvel’s TV takeover, realistically speaking he couldn’t be put in charge of a show (he’s got a movie to film, dontcha know!). Instead, I’d enlist his frequent partner Drew Goddard, director of Cabin In The Woods and part of the Buffy and Angel shows. In addition to working in the Whedon-verse, Goddard also was part of the Lost show (up until the fourth season), so he knows how to balance multiple threads — although Cloak & Dagger should be more straight-forward than that.
Dagger – Hayden Panettiere: Speaking of shows that lost steam midway through, Heroes‘ Hayden Panettiere became nerd royalty but found herself without a kingdom when that show fell apart. She’s both cute and sexy, and is one of the few actresses that could live up to Dagger’s comic book visuals… although I’d recommend a more demure costume for TV.
Cloak – Tristan Wilds: I became a Tristan Wilds’ fan after seeing him in The Wire, and he was one of the few shining moments in the revamped 90210. His combination of bookish affectation and diverse acting could make him an ideal candidate to play Tyrone.
Silvermane – Frank Vincent: Why fight the mafioso stereotype? Frank Vincent is one of the greats in that acting niche, and putting him as Silvermane and part of the New Orleans maggia would be a great bit of casting.
Brigid O’Reilly / Mayhem – Allison Janney: Grizzled police detective Brigid O’Reilly was one of the overlooked characters in Cloak & Dagger mythos, but in a television show she could play an important role as a confidante when the duo doesn’t really trust anyone. In comics she herself got twisted up in drugs and given powers and became Mayhem, and that could also be a storypoint as the series progressed. Allison Janney positively killed it on The West Wing, but has struggled to find a equally interesting role since — and this could be it.