The CW is adding another superhero show to its lineup: Black Lightning – the story of a man brought out of vigilante retirement by a daughter hungry for justice, and his student whose future hangs in the balance. Earlier this month, mxdwn reported that the project to bring in this DC hero was moved from Fox to The CW; joining Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow which already air on The CW. The pilot was written by Salim Akil, and will be produced by Greg Berlanti.
Variety has learned that Black Lightning has found its lead actor: Cress Williams. Williams recently co-starred as Lavon Hayes on four seasons of The CW show Hart of Dixie which ran from 2011 to 2015. In addition he has recently been a recurring character on Code Black, a CBS medical drama. Cress Williams has also appeared on popular ABC series Grey’s Anatomy as Miranda Bailey’s (now ex) husband in Seasons 2 and 4, and as George in 1999 film Never Been Kissed.
The DC comic of Black Lightning was created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden in the 1970’s and embodies a darker tone than many somewhat similar comics. It is unique in its focus on a man who has already established himself and knows many of his own strengths and weaknesses. In contrast, other CW heroes like Green Arrow (or just “The Arrow”) or The Flash are young, rash, and new to the vigilante scene. They follow the classic “origin story” mold of discovery and uncertainty. But 40-year-old Jefferson Pierce has a different set of troubles to combat aside from urban villains, and this includes dealing with his family life.
It should be interesting to see how The CW fits Black Lightning into its existing universe of heroes. Possibly they will employ a DC multiverse theory, or simply place Jefferson Pierce in a different time period, predicting or preceding our current colorfully-clad crime-fighting clan. While fan theories about Black Lightning bounce around, don’t forget to look forward to more casting news for Black Lightning.