As the first black superhero to have his own DC standalone comic book series, Black Lightning is not only an iconic character, but has a legacy that is significant well beyond the realm of comics. Created by Tony Isabella and Tony von Eeden, Black Lightning is an Olympic gold medallist, a high school principal and an accomplished member of the Justice League – and that is all before you consider the impact his presence had on the emerging representation of African-Americans in popular culture. Now that The CW is giving the superhero his own show, the new incarnation has a lot to live up to.
The titular hero, known without his mask as Jefferson Pierce, will be played by Hart of Dixie‘s Cress Williams and the show has been produced, written and directed by Salim Akil.
The new show tells the story of Pierce long after his prime crime fighting days are over. Having hung up his super suit and settled down to a quiet life in the suburbs, he is dragged back into the fray when his two adults daughters – who have both inherited their father’s passion for action and adventure, each in their own way – get caught up in more trouble than he can bear to see him them and the vigilante lifestyle beckons him back into its arms.
Production on the pilot for the new show recently began in Atlanta and the studio has released the first image of how Williams will look suited up for a showdown.
His costume was designed by Laura Jean Shannon, whose work spans the new Jumanji, Scott Pilgrim Versus the World and Iron Man, for which she was nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award.
The image, of course, comes with all the computer generated effects and background thunderstorms that are common among still releases from The CW, but gives a solid idea of what fans can expect from the new show. It shows Black Lightning, with his signature bolts arcing down over his broad shoulders in a sleek black suit that takes the classic designs of his outfit and updates it to fit in with the powerful new generation of contemporary heroes.