Things are moving quickly with the Black Lightning TV show. Just two weeks ago we reported that the series was most likely moving to The CW after being passed over by Fox, who was afraid they were going to have too many superhero TV shows — probably not a smart move for Fox, but honestly, I’d prefer to see the series go to a network that knows how to handle superhero series. Very shortly after that, The CW confirmed that the series had been given a pilot order, and then we got a list of character descriptions.
Now, THR is reporting that Black Lightning — which comes from CW super-producer Greg Berlanti, who is also part of the creative force behind Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow — has cast Cress Williams as its marquee hero for its pilot. Williams was a regular on The CW not that long ago, as a core cast member of Hart of Dixie.
Black Lightning will be written by Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil, and as I’ve summed it up in the past:
Black Lightning’s powers are exactly what you would expect: He’s a metahuman who can control electro-magnetic fields around his body, and can use it to stun or even kill as necessary. He can also use it to launch projectiles, and it gives him limited flight abilities as well. In the comics, he’s helped re-start Superman’s heart, and has also honed his combat skills under Batman’s tutelage. So yeah, he sounds like a badass.
Pierce’s two daughters–Anissa a.k.a. Thunder, a member of the Outsiders, and Jennifer a.k.a. Lightning, recruited by the Justice Society of America–are also active vigilantes in the comics, and it looks like the TV series will be headed in the same direction.
Williams, at 46, is much older than most of his leading superhero counterparts Grant Gustin, Stephen Amell, and Caity Lotz, but since the series also focuses on his daughters I’m guessing that he’ll be a kind of Joe West figure, though one who is obviously more active in the supernatural side of things than Jesse L. Martin gets to be on The Flash (in that series, the dad is the one who keeps things grounded — here, it sounds like he’s going to be the one kicking things off!) If the show decides to keep the Justice Society connection, that could also help bring these characters into the already established Arrow-verse.