TV Shows
Published July 6, 2018

How Director Gina Prince-Bythewood Set The Tone For 'Marvel's Cloak & Dagger'

How the pilot introduced darkness and light.

The first episode of “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” introduced the world to Tyrone and Tandy, and gave us a look into their past, keeping us on the edge of our seats.

The deep and mysterious themes of the premiere episode made us invested in Ty and Tandy’s journey, thanks in part to pilot director Gina Prince-Bythewood. Her use of darkness and light—both in imagery and storytelling—helped bring the characters to life.

Setting the tone for the direction of the series, director Gina Prince-Bythewood achieved the feeling of consummate light and darkness with the premiere episode, "First Light." The characters were her guiding light. “It was very important, foremost that we were real and grounded with these characters," said Prince-Bythewood. "The stuff that they’re going through as teenagers alone, it’s pretty deep. We wanted to be real with that. It’s important when you’re dealing with subject matter like drug use and police brutality that you’re authentic with it.”

Ty and Tandy’s abilities were also a factor she wanted to introduce with caution. “On top of that, they have these super powers and we wanted to be real with that as well," shared Prince-Bythewood. "How do you do that inside this fantastical universe? The mantra was 'just be real, be grounded,' and we hope that that gives it a different tone and a different look than any marvel show out there.”

While the characters were to remain true to their Marvel comics origins, updating them for the modern age was key. “That was one of the things that Joe [Pokaski] and I were very happy about how he flipped from the comics,” explained Prince-Bythewood. “We stayed true to the characters, but the things that Tyrone and Tandy were going through, because of race, because of this day and age, 2018, there were things that needed to be updated. We absolutely did that. That was important. We deal with race head on...I think the more we can do that, the more normal it’ll become.”

Changing the story location to New Orleans also involved some updates. Little touches were added to give a nod to the new setting to give the story authenticity and realness. “New Orleans has had such an incredible history," shared Prince-Bythewood. "Some have been really beautiful, but they’ve also had a lot of dark periods and they’re still recovering from the hurricane a couple years ago. We wanted to make sure that we touched on that, the fact that Tandy lives in this trailer park and some of the trailers still have the X’s on them that were condemned.”

New Orleans' authenticity extended beyond aesthetics.  “There was a beauty to the city as well, and to being able to capture that with the colors and the vibe. And then the food. It was great to shoot there and eat all the time,” reminisced Prince-Bythewood.

Brand new episodes of “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” air exclusively on Freeform Thursdays at 8p/7c! Stay tuned to for the latest on “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” and Marvel Television! Be sure to follow @CloakandDagger on Twitter and like the official “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” Facebook page!