- For the titular vigilante, see Jefferson Pierce.
Black Lightning is a television series based on the DC Comics character of the same name. The series premiered on January 16, 2018 on The CW and on January 24 internationally on Netflix, and will run for thirteen episodes.
The series was developed by Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, and stars Cress Williams in the role of Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, alongside China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, Marvin "Krondon" Jones III, Damon Gupton and James Remar.
As BLACK LIGHTNING begins, Jefferson Pierce is a man wrestling with a secret. As the father of two daughters and principal of a charter high school that also serves as a safe haven for young people in a neighborhood overrun by gang violence, he is a hero to his community. Nine years ago, Pierce was a hero of a different sort. Gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, he used those powers to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life on the line, and seeing the effects of the damage and loss that his alter ego was inflicting on his family, he left his Super Hero days behind and settled into being a principal and a dad. Choosing to help his city without using his superpowers, he watched his daughters Anissa and Jennifer grow into strong young women, even though his marriage to their mother, Lynn, suffered. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, and those he cares about in the crosshairs of the menacing local gang The One Hundred, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.
- Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning
- Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce/Thunder
- China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce
- Christine Adams as Lynn Stewart
- Marvin Jones III as Tobias Whale
- Damon Gupton as Henderson
- James Remar as Gambi
- Kyanna Simone Simpson as Kiesha
- Skye P. Marshall as Kara Fowdy
- Jordan Calloway as Khalil Payne
- Chantal Thuy as Grace
- Jill Scott as Lady Eve
- Edwina Findley as Tori
In September 2016, WB begin pitching Black Lightning to different networks. The series was first put into development at Fox. On February 2, 2017, FOX passed on Black Lightning and the following day Black Lightning received a pilot order at The CW. On February 24, Cress Williams was cast in the lead as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning. Several months later, in May, Black Lightning was ordered to series. On August 10, Marvin "Krondon" Jones III was cast as the main villain Tobias Whale.
Connection to the ArrowverseEdit
Although Black Lightning will air on The CW and is connected to Greg Berlanti, Mark Pedowitz, president of The CW has stated that "at this time, is not part of the Arrowverse. It is a separate situation." Berlanti had also stated previously that the series would not crossover with the Arrowverse shows while the series was still in development at Fox.
However, future crossovers have not been ruled out by Akil. Speaking in August 2017, Pedowitz noted that "If [the showrunners] wish to bring it in, that is their call. We had a long discussion with the studio, Mara, Salim and myself. We were fine with them making it separate from the Arrowverse, they have a different point a view. If they end up wanting to go that way, that will be their decision."
Jefferson Pierce would appear in the new "Suit Up" trailer released by The CW to promote their superhero shows alongside several of the main characters from the various Arrowverse shows. Although appearing at the end of the trailer, he does not interact with any other character.