It’s already been widely reported that Black Lightning will exist separately from the Arrowverse and there are currently no plans for the new series to crossover with any of the veteran CW shows. Having just finished a crossover (and a controversial one at that), the idea of another is probably not yet on the minds of most DCTV fans or show runners, but I am still putting in my two cents as to why Black Lightning and The Flash should go for the gusto and let these two worlds collide.
The Rebirth of Journalist Iris West
This season of The Flash has given Iris West (Iris West-Allen if we don’t want Barry Allen and West-Allen shippers to lose it) much more story to work with. She took up the mantel of team leader when Barry was in the speed force and has so far continued to help Team Flash by working as the S.T.A.R. Labs central commander. What fans of The Flash continue to question is why Iris is not continuing her journalist story arc. We all know it’s her destiny in the comics to be an investigative reporter and the infamous 2024 news article she will pen about Barry’s disappearance has been haunting us since season one.
From the teases we have been given, Black Lightning will be set in a city besieged with gang violence and those who wish to terrorize everyday citizens. This assault will be so greatly felt by Jefferson Pierce that he will return to the streets as a superhero savior. What better way to get Iris involved with BL than using her investigative skills to sniff out stories in the crime ridden city of her potential superhero neighbor?
Though she works for the Central City Picture News, branching out to do freelance work is another opportunity to give her character more depth. Iris has already shown us her toughness by investigating gun runners and violent drag racers, so this type of reporting would be true to her character’s fearless nature and lay more groundwork for her growth as a professional woman in the hard-hitting world of news.
The Wests Need More Relationships
Outside of S.T.A.R. Labs, the West family has no substantial relationships and more specifically no black ones. Race is in no way a prerequisite for friendship, but the addition of an African-American superhero family in the multiverse is the perfect opportunity to construct a more believable life around the Wests. The West family dynamic is arguably the strongest element of the show and giving them people to interact with that they can relate to on multiple levels will only add to the show’s emotional depth.
Can you imagine how differently Iris’s night out would have been if she had a black friend there? What if that friend was Anissa Pierce? Can you imagine scenes at Joe and Cecile’s house with everyone sitting around the table with Wally West and Jennifer Pierce talking about school and maybe even their powers at some point? Joe and Jefferson talking street crime and fatherhood? White superheroes never have to worry about having white friends because most other heroes are white. It would be extremely satisfying and a nod to realism if the Wests had some black friends.
Even more interesting could be exploring what these relationships would be like if they were not so Pollyannaish? Perhaps Joe and Jefferson clash because they have differing views of heroism or Iris snooping around in a new city creates problems that Barry has to solve. There are endless possibilities that could be explored in a crossover with these characters.
Ultimately, the Wests and Pierces have the burden of secrets and the fate of their respective communities lay at the feet of those they love most. There are not many ties that bind that tightly in any universe; these characters deserve to interact no matter what ways the writers decide to connect them.
It is my hope that Black Lightning is a success and that it gets all the love it can from DCTV fans. By linking Black Lightning to The Flash (it’s highest rated show) in the Tuesday night line-up, network bosses are already giving the new heroes a running start. Why not take that extra step to link the lives of the characters as well?
What do you think about a Black Lightning/The Flash crossover episode(s)?
The Flash will return to the CW January 16th at 7pm/8pm ET.
Black Lightning will premiere on the CW January 16th 8pm/9pmET.