Next year, The CW will welcome a new superhero to its network. Only this superhero is unlike any other you’ve seen. Not only is Black Lightning the first black superhero on network television, but we’re going to be starting not at the beginning, but the middle.
We spoke with Black Lightning stars Cress Williams, Christine Adams, Nafessa Williams and executive producers Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil at San Diego Comic-Con last month, where they gushed about their love for this story and their hopes moving forward, as well as how it tackles important issues in a very grounded way.
Usually when we get a superhero show, we start at the very beginning of the hero’s story. Getting to know this hero episode by episode, and with each season progressing to an end game that we know is coming. Black Lightning isn’t taking that approach. Instead, we’re going to meet Jefferson Pierce in the middle of his story rather than the beginning – with preexisting history and superhero prowess in the background.
“We did that because I wanted him to be fully out of the game,” Salim Akil said. “What’s interesting to me is not what you’re doing, it’s why you quit and why are you pulled back in. So he quit because the love of his family…So I wanted to see and hear what it was like so that as we walk down the road of him coming back we knew what he was headed for. And now, we know where his daughters are headed for.”
One of the ways in which Black Lightning is poised to make its mark is the grounded reality in which it exists. The show will take place in Atlanta and very much focus on the very real issues that come with being in that city.
“We are rooted in a real city,” Cress Williams said. “We do tackle real issues. Because it’s still technically fantasy, it allows people to look at something that might be a little uncomfortable and talk about it and deal with it. I think we’re a family show, so I think it’s really going to generate some really great conversation at the dinner table about things that are really going on.”
Watch our full interviews with the cast and producers below:
Black Lightning premieres midseason on The CW.