Black Lightning: Cress Williams Describes How The Show Is Rooted In The Comics

Black Lightning looks to be giving his suit an upgrade.
Black Lightning looks to be giving his suit an upgrade. The CW

Black Lightning is revealing something special at San Diego Comic-Con later this afternoon ahead of The Flash and Arrow panels. The series isn’t set to premiere until CW’s midseason and the cast has only read the first script. Star Cress Williams told Player.One ahead of his first SDCC panel he’s still trying to process it all because the role is a dream come true.

One of the most exciting aspects of the show, Williams emphasizes, is Jefferson Pierce’s relationship with his daughters Thunder and Lightning.

"I think he wants them to actually not be heroes, and not tie into that world. But if they do, he wants them to be properly trained. If you read about Thunder and Lightning, once Jefferson finds out, he is trying to discourage it every step of the way because it’s dangerous. He wants them to use more education than anything else,” Williams said. “But they are close to adults and anyone who has kids knows the older they get, the more they are going to do what they want to do. So he has to find a happy medium.”

When we spoke with Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella a few months back, he said the one value he’d like to shine through in the series from the comics is responsibility. Williams shares the same sentiment, naming family as the most important thing to Jefferson Pierce.

"Family is number one for him, so it’s slightly different because of their [his daughters] age difference. Jennifer is a bit more rebellious and a teenager at this point. Whereas Anissa, the struggle there is that she’s technically an adult, so I can try as I might, but she can still do whatever she wants.

“I think he’s raised them well...but in a bubble. The world outside is changing, primarily because he hasn’t been around. That’s really what pulls him back in, that he can’t protect them forever. Once they get out in the world, the danger of the world, he decides to step back up again.”

If you saw the first Black Lightning trailer and CW’s new DCTV sizzle reel, you know the series is going to tackle violence, social justice, and real world issues. However, Williams thinks "just depicting life will keep it from being preachy.”

"I think we are just really rooting it in life. We start with the family first and show the world as it really is, to be just portrayed truth. It comes really from the comic books. The original ‘70s comic books has some issues where it’s like, that could be today.”

While the comic books certainly aren’t shy to tackle big issues, the humor will bring some light to balance out the dark and gritty tone.

"One of the things about the comics that is very important is Jefferson Pierce and Black Lightning are almost two different people,” Williams explained. “It’s almost like a dual personality. With Jefferson Piece, he’s put together and he’s almost Obama-like. But with Black Lighting, there’s a lot more flavor, a lot more sarcasm, and we are definitely going to carry that voice through."

Join the Discussion
Top Stories