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SDCC Interview: CLOAK & DAGGER Showrunner Joe Pokaski

Showrunner Joe Pokaski talks about Freeform’s newest series, Marvel’s CLOAK & DAGGER, at San Diego Comic-Con.

Joe Pokaski, who’s been involved as co-executive producer or supervising producer for popular shows such as NBC’s Heroes, CBS’s CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Netflix’s Daredevil, stopped by San Diego Comic-Con with some of the cast to talk about Freeform’s first Marvel series, Cloak & Dagger.

One of the episodes that was brought up during the interview was “Lotus Eaters,” in which Tandy and Tyrone enter the mind of Tandy’s friend’s father, who was on the rig that blew up and created their powers. Joe talks about the emotional impact of the episode in regards to Tandy.

“Those stories are great, all those ambitious genre stories and you can say, let’s go inside this character that you’ve never really met’s head. Let’s repeat this disaster time and time again. But how do we keep it emotional? The two things I think we found that I fell in love with was the idea of Tandy talking on the phone with her dad. And that’s kind of where it’s like…’Oh, so this is Cloak & Dagger,'” said Joe. “And the idea of that you get to talk to a loved one one last time, is not only enthralling, but you see this man going through the same thing, and you see Tandy willfully doing it…and it allowed Olivia to really open up and show how vulnerable she is. I think the second part of that is that phone conversation at the end, where you say, we did this for a reason, and the reason was to have Tandy and Tyrone to admit, by way of a phone call, that they’re best friends.” 

(from l. to r.: Joe Pokaski, Ally Maki, Aubrey Joseph, Olivia Holt, and Emma Lahana
Photo by Tommaso Boddi – © 2018 Getty Images

When asked about how the setting of New Orleans affects the show, he found it much more than he expected it to be, but that it somewhat mimics the characters of the show.

“It’s been amazing. Visually, it’s just stunning. You see those colors they use, and there’s a weird combination of hopelessness and hope, depending on which way you turn the camera. When Jeff said that we have the possibility of moving Cloak & Dagger from New York, both of us kind of fell in love with New Orleans. It’s a city I’ve been to a few times before. It’s a city that refuses to die,” explains Joe. “It keeps coming back, and that’s what Tandy and Tyrone are, and it was really helpful because Vodun, and the Mardi Gras Indians, all these things we discovered as we started moving into the city. We’re like, oh this is our mythology. There’s something superheroic about these Mardi Gras Indians. There’s something amazing about Vodun, in a spiritual connection and kind of a rebellion against slavery to some degree, how it was developed. Everything we learned felt more and more right for Tandy and Tyrone.”

Joe wanted to make it known that even though there’s a mythology to Cloak & Dagger, they still want to stick with the superhero genre, but it seems to be in a more scientific way. At least for Tandy’s sake.

“We still stay on the Marvel point of, magic is just science we don’t understand. We try to make sure, even when crazy things are happening, it’s because of something under the earth. It’s kind of why we put the oil rig and the other valves in,” said Pokaski. “And Tandy makes my, most favorite one is – *exclusive spoiler right now* –  Tandy has a line in the finale where, someone’s talking about destiny, and she says, ‘Destiny is just string theory we don’t understand.’ So I think what we try to do is – life is kind of magical, karma’s kind of weird, and I think almost everyone believes in some kind of karma on some level. So we’re just trying to tell that story within our version of science.”

Cloak & Dagger is currently airing its first season on Thursdays at 8pm and has been renewed for a second season on Freeform.

By Nat, the Geek Girl

Southern California native who likes movies, books (Shadowhunter Chronicles, NA, YA fantasy, Red Rising series), TV shows (The Sandman), and San Diego Comic-Con. I also like to write, but don't get to do much of that aside from on here. I fell into the BTS rabbit hole, and I refuse to leave.