One of the earliest African American superheroes in DC comics, Black Lightning‘s first story was published in 1977. Forty years later, The CW has finally offered the hero the pilot for his own television series, after it was passed up by Fox. With Salim Akil directing the pilot, Mara Brock Akil and Greg Berlanti on board to develop the character and Sarah Schecter also involved in executive production, the show is now well under way in terms of production and it’s now only a matter of time before we finally get to see Black Lightning on screen.
The CW has now announced that we are one step closer to that day, as they have officially found their lead actor in the form of Cress Williams, who has preivously worked with the channel as Mayor Lavon Hayes on Hart of Dixie.
Aged 46, Williams is older than the typical age of The CW’s lead actors. The Flash‘s Grant Gustin is 27, Supergirl‘s Melissa Benoist is 28 and Arrow‘s Stephen Amell is 35. But this difference serves a significant purpose within the story world, telling a different tale to the ones fans have come to expect from their superhero shows.
Black Lightning will follow a retired Jefferson Pierce, who has long ago given up on the dangerous vigilante life. Instead, he has left it up to his two adult daughters, Anissa and Jennifer, who are also metahumans and who have taken up their father’s mission as the heroes Thunder and Lightning. Rumours have it that he is dragged reluctantly back into the action.
The older, more mature character, with different responsibilities to the young, impulsive heroes that fans have become accustomed to, will offer a new perspective on vigilantism by focussing on a character who has extensive experience with the lifestyle and is prepared to leave it behind. Not only that, but being the father of two young metahumans embroiled in the danger is definitely capabable of putting it all into a new context.
This is not an origin story. This is a very different kind of story.