'Cloak & Dagger' Showrunner Compares Mayhem to 'Black Panther's Killmonger

Since last July, when Marvel and Freeform announced at San Diego Comic-Con that Cloak & Dagger had been renewed, it's been made clear that the second season would be introducing the classic villain Mayhem into the mix. Every trailer, teaser, or piece of key art released after that announcement has been promoting Emma Lahana's turn into the popular Cloak & Dagger antagonist, who will actually be a much different villain than most are expecting. Mayhem hasn't arrived to bring chaos and terror to the people of New Orleans. On the contrary, she's trying to make the city a better place and rid it of its most dangerous criminals. She's just using some questionable methods to do so. Sound familiar?

This idea of a villain that has a point, one that an audience can find a way to relate to, isn't that new for Marvel fans. These characters, including Mayhem, have been around in the comics for decades, though a blockbuster-turned-cultural phenomenon gave one of them the biggest spotlight imaginable in 2018. Killmonger, the villain of Black Panther played by Michael B. Jordan, is now widely regarded as one of the best antagonists in all of comic book movies, as he had motives that made sense to the audience, and his passion for justice resonated with fans. No one was okay with his methods, but his argument was valid, and it caused everyone to think about what he was trying to do.

Mayhem will play a very similar role on Cloak & Dagger in Season 2. In fact, while speaking to ComicBook.com on the set of the series, showrunner Joe Pokaski told us that Killmonger was a big inspiration for Mayhem's portrayal, and that the two have quite a bit in common.

"It was so exciting to have such great source material in Cloak & Dagger, from decades ago, in which they did such a great job of laying in this ally in Brigid O'Reilly," Pokaski began. "Then, all of a sudden, turning it into, I wouldn't say an adversary, but a counterpoint. It's funny, going back and reading the Mayhem comics, she was never a bad guy, she still wanted to fuck up the bad guys. But it's such an interesting counterpoint where Tandy and Tyrone are trying to figure out where they are, kind of on the line between justice and revenge. We have Mayhem who says there is no line, anyone who's complicit is gonna get hurt. So, we started off really, kind of going up head to head against Mayhem but, because this is Marvel and because this is Cloak & Dagger, our villains are human beings. And so, one of the really beneficial things about having Emma Lahana playing Mayhem is that you get the human side. She's so good at nuance, we haven't been able to kind of put an obstacle in front of her that she hasn't been able to smash. So, we use the word Killmonger a lot as a verb, and as a noun.

"[The mentality is] 'I kind of agree with you until you destroy all the lotuses and try to keep all the Black Panther power for yourself.' And the counterpoint is great, and that's what we try to do. We're able to set this story in this really complex city. We've kind of started talking about human trafficking, which is a very complex, very scary issue. And there are times when we're doing our jobs right, when our writers are really on their game, where you don't know who you're rooting for. Because Tandy, Tyrone, and Mayhem will have different opinions as to how to deal with something."

Mayhem and Killmonger have quite a lot in common when you really think about it, and that makes us even more excited for what Cloak & Dagger has in store for Season 2.

Marvel's Cloak & Dagger returns on Thursday, April 4th at 8 pm ET on Freeform.

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