Nine ‘Black Lightning’ TV Series Questions, Answered

black-lightning cw
Black Lightning premieres during the 2017 midseason. CW

Black Lightning doesn’t have a firm CW release date yet, but even ahead of San Diego Comic Con, we’ve got a few details about what to expect in the series as far as villains, possible story arcs and tone. We caught up with Black Lightning comic book creator Tony Isabella last month at ECBACC, where he revealed a few exclusive details. The cast of Black Lightning also attended CW Upfronts and shared more info about what to expect. So in addition to the trailer, here’s everything we know about the Black Lightning TV series.

Does Black Lightning Stay True To Comics?

Series star Cress Williams mentioned at CW Upfronts the show is based on the comic book universe, and Tony Isabella told us he got the same impression from the trailer and from the script when it was at Fox.  

“There are some smartass lines in there, and I love writing smartass lines, so I love the fact that’s a little bit of me in there, that they're doing that,” said Isabella. “I love the tone of the show. I had read a script, which, I think, was the second draft when the show was at Fox. I’m sure there will be some changes for the CW, but the Fox script was really edgy, and not fantasy-edgy like Arrow. Real-world edgy. Police brutality, driving while black, the gang. It really is real-world edgy and the more of that they keep, I think the more the TV show will work.”

Isabella also said he hopes Black Lightning’s core value of responsibility is portrayed in the series.

“Jefferson Pierce is a middle-aged superhero, and a reluctant one. He doesn’t want to be a hero,” Isabella said. “A lot of superhero comics these days are so self absorbed, every issue the heroes are fighting their old enemies. They’re not actually doing stuff for the community, and that’s what I want to change. Those are the characters I want to write.”

Is There Arrowverse Crossover Potential?

Producers have said they don’t plan on crossing over Black Lightning with the Arrowverse so early in the series and Tony Isabella explains why.

“We talked about that, not that I have any say in it. I said early on, ‘You know, I’m a little tired of Black Lightning being subservient to other characters. I don't like him teaming up with Batman and Superman. They pretty much give him orders.’ We could always change it later on.”

What About Static Shock?

While there’s been no confirmation, it’s highly unlikely we will see Static in Black Lightning. There’s too much going on and Black Lightning already has people to mentor in his daughters, Thunder and Lightning.

“Static is a great character, but you put him in Black Lightning, he’s a sidekick, or you reduce Black Lightning to just a mentor role. I love both characters, I mean, I love Black Lighting more.”

What Are Chances Of The Outsiders?

While Isabella didn’t answer this question head-on, he did say he likes the idea of a specific member of the group (of which Black Lightning and one of his daughters was part of in the comics) appearing.

“I got to tell you, I love the idea of Metamorpho at some point in the future. I love the character. I’m trying to convince DC that some of their b and c characters.”

This could be a tough one, for technical and budgetary reasons. But The Flash has been doing some crazy CGI stuff in Season 3, so we can’t say the network wouldn’t consider a character like Metamorpho. He is basically an elemental shapeshifter. He can transmute into a variety of different compounds, even assume gas liquid or solid states. It’s pretty awesome.

Is The Villain Tobias Whale?

Isabella also said, “I think he is,” when I asked about the possibility of Tobias Whale appearing in the Black Lighting TV series. Whale is an African American Albino villain and a major player in the 100 gang, who are Black Lightning’s adversaries in the show and the comics. The gang, according to the trailer and synopsis, forces Black Lightning to put back on his suit and protect the city. Since Tobias Whale appeared in Black Lightning #1 in 1977, it’s a safe bet he’ll be adapted in the series.

Are Black Lightning’s Daughters Heroes Too?

Black Lightning and his daughters will eventually become a superhero team. Lightning, the youngest daughter, has the same powers as he father and we saw them developing in the trailer. The eldest daughter, Thunder, has the ability to increase her body density, which makes her pretty much invulnerable. It’s unclear how this power will be adapted in the series. In the comics, she could stomp on the ground and create shockwaves.

What’s The Tone?

At CW Upfronts talking with ComicBook.com, Williams compared the show to Battlestar Galactica.

“I'm a huge fan of that show, and I got a lot of friends who were into it because whether or not you like sci-fi, it was a great drama. People who weren't a fan of genre liked the show. That's our show, is that we're a family drama. We're rooted in real life, with super powers on top of it. We haven't seen that – of course, our skin tone, we haven't seen a lot of that either – but it's rooted in real life and it's really a family drama at the heart of it.”

Who Is Lynn?

Even though Lynn and Jefferson are divorced, she’s a huge part of the show. Lynn convinced Jefferson to stop being a hero and be a school principal.

“Lynn, in a way, is the glue that holds the family together,” Christine Adams, who portrays Lynn,  said at CW Upfronts. “They were married at a very young age, she was one of the few people who knew about his super powers, but eventually it became difficult in their marriage for him to go out and endanger himself every night, so that's what separated them. They have these two children, they still co-parent them, they still have feelings, there's still a lot of friendship and respect.”

No, There Is Not A Flashback Wig

The CW seems to have a weird thing for flashback wigs – think emo Barry Allen and shaggy-haired Oliver Queen – but no, we are not going to get the flashback fro in Black Lightning!

“We've established that the flashbacks are going to be bald, so it'll be the opposite. It won't be a wig. I'm thankfully not old enough to have been a hero in the '70s, so we won't go back that far,” Williams said.

Editor's Note: For more on Black Lightning, check out ComicBook.com's interview with Cress Williams on the red carpet at CW Upfronts and our interview with comic creator Tony Isabella. 

Join the Discussion
Top Stories