All the greatest superhero stories carry a depth of meaning that goes beyond mere super-powers. Now, in the golden age of superhero TV shows, the pressure is on for each new series to provide something truly unique. Take Marvel's Cloak & Dagger, currently in production for Freeform. It's not enough to be a superhero teen romance; the show has to have something far deeper to it. The good news is that a recent leaked casting call suggests that Marvel is happy to oblige...
First, The Character Breakdowns
The team behind That Hashtag Show excel at getting their hands on casting calls, and for the most part, they're pretty reliable. The Show has just published two casting calls for characters in Cloak & Dagger and both are surprisingly detailed. As usual, these casting calls refer to the characters by false names, but frankly, their identities are easy to deduce.
"PASTOR DIAZ didn’t always intend to become a man of the cloth. Struggling with many demons, Francis Diaz joined the military looking for guidance and stability. But he found himself in religion, becoming a chaplain and pursuing advanced degrees in theology and education to try to discover his own humanity.
Still without answers but armed with a position at a prestigious prep school, Pastor Diaz is now helping sculpt young minds. As a school counselor and priest, Diaz is a rock to Travis and sees a lot more in the boy that he would be comfortable admitting.
Oppressed by the collar, he leads more through words than example as he still struggles daily with the chaste life he has chosen. Try as he may, Francis still finds himself slipping. He can’t escape his own deep shame. To pay penance, he forces himself to witness the life he could have had, seeing the love that got away. Pastor Diaz is constantly seeking redemption in spite of the fact that he’s not sure he deserves it. But it is in his raw humanity that we see the hand of God. RECURRING"
There's only one person this can possibly be: Father Francis Xavier Delgado, a major secondary character who was introduced in Cloak & Dagger #1 (1983). Delgado is a man of the cloth who struggles to deal with the darkness of the world around him, desperately clinging to his faith even as he fears it'ss crumbling. It's true that the character's role has been rewritten somewhat; he's no longer a priest in Hell's Kitchen, but instead works at "a prestigious prep school," acting as school counselor and priest to Cloak (previous casting calls had clearly referred to Cloak as 'Travis').
Notice the hint that this character struggles with sexual temptation. In the comics, Father Delgado's greatest struggle was with lust. He became infatuated with Dagger, and wound up institutionalized.
Here's the second character profile:
"A self-possessed woman in her 30s, DETECTIVE BAILEY CALLAHAN comes off as cold or unfriendly upon first impression. Her New York sensibilities have hardened her from being too friendly or open, setting her apart from her Louisiana counter parts.
Accustomed to working in a man’s world, Callahan isn’t looking to be “one of the guys.” She isn’t going to let a room full of men dictate how often she changes the color of her fingernails (almost daily). She won’t meet expectations of women cops as ball busting bitches. The rest of the station need to find their way to her impression of the world, not the other way around.
Callahan believes in justice and doesn’t thing that anyone should be above it, including other cops. Especially other cops…RECURRING"
Again, we need look no further than Cloak & Dagger #1 to work out who this character is. She's clearly Detective Brigid O'Reilly, a close ally of Cloak and Dagger's who initially hunted them down as vigilantes. O'Reilly's belief in the law brought her into conflict with the two teens, whose approach when taking down criminals was essentially "an eye for an eye." She'd eventually be killed in the line of duty, but — comics being comics — O'Reilly would later be resurrected and become a vigilante herself.
Digging A Little Deeper
This leaked casting call is great news for any fan of the source material. It suggests that Cloak & Dagger will be remarkably comic-book-accurate, weaving in key characters from the 1983 miniseries that first introduced the heroes. If that's the case, we could be looking at a series that's truly remarkable, not least because it's set to explore issues of faith and redemption.
These themes were integral to Bill Mantlo's first Cloak & Dagger miniseries. In fact, each issue opened with a (mis)quote from the Bible: "The darkness and light are both alike... I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Dagger was presented as "living light," Cloak as "shadow," and each made the other whole in a surreal, mystical way. Their lives intertwined with those of Father Delgado and Detective O'Reilly, testing their world-views — and their faith.
Take Father Delgado. In the comics, he first encountered Cloak & Dagger when he retreated to his church to pray desperately for light. That prayer was answered by the arrival of Cloak and Dagger, with Dagger's light blazing around him. He swiftly came to view Dagger as almost an angel, and Cloak as the devil whose darkness fed upon Dagger's light. Father Delgado was deeply disturbed by Cloak and Dagger's methods, insisting that criminals should not be killed; he refused to believe anyone was beyond redemption.
As for Detective O'Reilly, it was her belief in the law that brought her into conflict with Cloak and Dagger. She rejected their message of retribution, insisting instead that justice comes only from the law. That even led to her hunting the two teenagers down when she saw Cloak's darkness consume a murderer. At the same time, Cloak and Dagger's backstory — a history of suffering in which she could find no hint of justice — challenged the detective, forcing her to accept that there might just be a place for vigilantes like these two would-be superheroes.
You can't possibly incorporate versions of Father Delgado and Detective O'Reilly without touching on issues of redemption, salvation, and retribution. If this casting call is accurate, we can expect Cloak & Dagger to be a fantastic show that challenges our concepts of heroism and justice.
So, Cloak & Dagger is taking shape. The first trailer hinted that #Marvel has subtly rewritten the heroes' #MCU origin, with a deliberate — and important — reference to Roxxon. However, this leaked casting call suggests that the series will still remain very true indeed to the original comics while also hinting at some remarkably deep themes...