- For the titular vigilante, see Jefferson Pierce.
The series was developed by 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, James Remar, Jordan Calloway, and Chantal Thuy.
|As BLACK LIGHTNING begins, Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) 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 (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) grow into strong young women, even though his marriage to their mother, Lynn (Christine Adams), 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.
Based on the characters from DC, BLACK LIGHTNING is from Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (, , , ), Salim Akil & Mara Brock Akil ("Being Mary Jane," "The Game," "Girlfriends") and Sarah Schechter (, , , ). The Black Lightning character was created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden.
- Cress Williams as Principal Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning
- China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce/Lightning
- Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce/Thunder/Blackbird
- Christine Adams as Dr. Lynn Stewart
- Marvin "Krondon" Jones III as Tobias Whale
- Damon Gupton as Chief Bill Henderson (seasons 1–3)
- James Remar as Peter Gambi
- Jordan Calloway as Khalil Payne/Painkiller (seasons 2–4; recurring season 1)
- Chantal Thuy as Grace Choi/Wylde (season 4; guest season 1; recurring seasons 2-3)
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 Arrowverse
Although Black Lightning aired 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 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.
Discussing a potential Black Lightning crossover with the Arrowverse in July 2019, Cress Williams revealed that "there's been lots of talk [...] nothing official, but at this point, I wouldn't be surprised." Two weeks later in August, Williams confirmed reports that characters from Black Lightning would appear in .
The events of Crisis on Infinite Earths ultimately led to the creation of Earth-Prime, an Earth-1-like universe that also incorporates series-relevant aspects of Earth-38, the pre-Crisis setting of , and Earth-TUD5, the pre-Crisis setting of Black Lightning. As a result, the once-separate Black Lightning is now an Arrowverse series.
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