The DC television universe is continuing to expand.
Deadline reports that there is yet another series based on a DC comic coming to the small screen. The mastermind behind the CW’s DC universe, Greg Berlanti, is partnering with Mara Brock Akil (The Game, Being Mary Jane) and her husband Salim Akil to bring Black Lightning to TV.
Berlanti and the Akils are reportedly shopping the series around to the networks. Berlanti’s empire is rooted at the CW with Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and now Supergirl. But there is no guarantee that the CW will also pick up Black Lightning.
So who is Black Lightning? Jefferson Pierce (aka Black Lightning) was one of the first major African American superheroes introduced in the DC Universe. The original run of Black Lightning comics debuted in 1977. Black Lightning in the comics was a metahuman (see the Flash) with the ability to, in short, create electric blasts or force-fields. In addition to fighting crime, Pierce is also the father of two superheroes, Thunder and Lightning. His daughter Anissa (Thunder) is a member of the Outsiders and his daughter Jennifer (Lightning) is a part of the Justice Society of America.
Should Black Lightning get picked up by a network, it will focus on a Jefferson Pierce who has already moved on from his glory days and hung up his suit. Of course, Pierce comes out of superhero retirement due to a justice-hungry daughter and in order to stop a local gang’s activities.
Hopefully Black Lightning will be get the greenlight from a network because Jefferson Pierce is the hero the DC universe needs. Superhero television in general suffers from a lack of diversity. The only exception is Marvel’s Luke Cage premiering later this month on Netflix. So far, most of the leading figures in every superhero show on TV currently is a white male, with the occasional white female.
Black Lightning has been a work in progress at WBTV for over a year. Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil, Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter will executive produce.