Between Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl, The CW almost has enough superhero series for every weekday. And if the network has its way, there may soon be a fifth DC superhero show on The CW.
The CW is currently casting the pilot episode for Black Lightning, which is based upon one of the first African American superheroes to headline his own comic book series. The Black Lightning comic was created in 1977 by Tony Isabella with artist Trevor Von Eeden, and it followed Jefferson Pierce, a man who used his ability to control electricity to wage a one-man war on the crime syndicate known as the 100. For the pilot episode, Cress Williams will portray Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, with Nafessa Williams and China Anne McClain as Jefferson’s daughters, Anissa and Jennifer, respectively. In DC’s comic book universe, both Anissa and Jennifer inherited a version of their father’s abilities and they became superheroes as well.
Since the Black Lightning TV series was originally developed for Fox by Akil and Brock Akil with Greg Berlanti, it didn’t initially have any ties to the Arrowverse. And it may still be Arrow-free, but it would probably make more sense to tie it into the other shows for the inevitable five-part crossover episode. The problem is that the premise of Black Lightning is that Jefferson Pierce was a superhero for years before the Flash or Arrow came along. Not only that, Black Lightning was a metahuman before they became commonplace in this universe. It’s not impossible to explain that away, since Legends of Tomorrow established that superheroes have been around for decades. But it could be a tricky issue for the series to work around.
Assuming that Black Lightning goes forward next fall, it could actually give its title character an important place in the Arrowverse: the elder statesman. While Oliver Queen has a half-decade as the Green Arrow under his belt, Jefferson Pierce would still have far more experience as a superhero. He’s the veteran, and everyone else is still a rookie by comparison. Having Black Lightning around could also open the door to introducing additional heroes and villains who were previously unknown in this world.
However, the biggest special feature of a Black Lightning TV series would still be the title character himself. He’s one of the rare superheroes who performs his heroic acts out of a sense of social justice rather than a personal quest for vengeance or fulfillment. Black Lightning is a true hero, and we could always use more heroes on TV. It may be a few months before we learn whether Black Lightning will get his shot at TV glory, but we’re pulling for him!
Are you excited about the prospect of a Black Lightning television series? Let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section below!
Image Credit: DC Comics