PERTH, Western Australia – Superhero films quickly become major hits when they are released on either small or big screen or even when they release trailers. DC proudly presents another fictional superhero to add to their universe that already includes Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and a whole lot of others.
Black Lightning is The CW’s new DC Comics-based series that is set to premiere on Tuesday, joining the lineup of Supergirl, Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and The Flash.
The series will revolve around the story of Jefferson Pierce, a divorced dad of two girls and a cautious principal who lives in Freeland, which will be played by Cress Williams. Nine years back, before the beginning of the show, after an almost fatal battle with his opponent, Tobias Whale (which is played by Marvin Jones III), the hero decided to retire from being Black Lightning, who has the ability to control electricity.
However, crimes don’t stop, and heroes never really get to stay retired. Black Lightning was then again brought to life by Pierce due to terrorism instigated by some racist combat cops and a rough gang headed by Whale. The two daughters of Pierce, Anissa and Jennifer, were also targeted by the gang. In the show, Anissa is an activist and Jennifer is a high school student, who turned out to possess special abilities as well.
More than the story of Black Lightning being entertaining, the showrunner and executive producer of the show, Salim Akil, had a bigger picture to show.
Akil grew up in a neighborhood in Richmond, CA, and said that no Superman or other heroes ever came fighting for justice to the neighborhoods where he lived. This is, therefore, a key component in the world of Black Lightning. Additionally, he stated that there are no more real heroes than those people living with threats of drugs and gun violence.
Having a genuine black voice and creating a show dealing with the things that he grew up with and got to know are part of the producer’s agenda in mind. He has co-written the pilot with his fellow producer and wife, Mara Brock Akil.
On the other hand, Williams is very thrilled with the whole idea of Black Lightning and said that he always wanted his art to move, inspire, and enlighten, not just to entertain. He also considers this as his legacy project as an artist.
Black Lightning is also made to be independent of the “Arrowverse” because it has a different perspective. President of The CW, Mark Pedowitz, mentioned that the superhero is more mature, depicting the existential and survival life of an African–American clan. It’s a vision to realize and not to be made similar to everything else.
Black Lightning adds to other fictional black heroes like Luke Cage, Aquaman, and Marvel’s Black Panther. In terms of black superhero competition, Akil said that Black Panther is not Black Lightning. All the other fictional black heroes don’t tell Black Lightning’s story. Every story is different and can all stand, showing that they can also be as versatile as the white people.
Finally, Akil said that if he sees even only one child dressed up as the superhero Black Lightning at Halloween, then he’s good.