Lightning will soon strike the hearts and minds of DC fans as a new small screen hero rises. With production underway in Atlanta on the newest #DCTV pilot for The CW, Warner Bros. Television has released the first image of Cress Williams (Hart of Dixie) as Jefferson Pierce, better known as Black Lightning! The costume for Black Lightning was designed by Laura Jean Shannon, whose many film and television credits include the upcoming Jumanji sequel, The Jungle Book, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Blade: Trinity, Good Girls Revolt and Iron Man, for which she was nominated for a Costume Designers Guild Award. Here's what Executive producer/writer/director Salim Akil had to say in a statement.
"I knew way too much about the world as a young boy growing up in Richmond, California. I was no stranger to violence, death, hopelessness or the feeling that no one cared about what was happening in my life. Comics were a great way for me to escape. I was about 13 when Black Lightning was created, and finally there was a Black Super Hero that gave a damn about our neighborhood and our lives. Resurrecting him at a time in our society when a sense of hope is lacking... Black Lightning will be that hope. And in updating the suit, it will signal to a new generation that it's time to harness and release our power, and become our own Super Heroes."
Production is currently underway in Atlanta. The first African-American DC Super Hero to have his own stand-alone comic title, Black Lightning is based on the character created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden in 1977. The television adaptation tells the tale of a father drawn reluctantly back into the super hero game. Jefferson Pierce made his choice: he hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with one daughter hell-bent on justice and the other a star student being recruited by a local gang, he'll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend, Black Lightning.
This DC Comics TV series was first put into development back in September, when it was set up at Fox, with the network issuing a pilot order. Just a few months later, though, Fox decided to pass on the project, with The CW then stepping in to add this series to its ever-expansive DC Comics TV universe. Greg Berlanti, who executive produces Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl, serves as executive producer of Black Lightning, along with Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil and Sarah Schechter through their Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Salim Akil is directing the pilot from a script he wrote.
While production is under way on the pilot episode, we likely won't know for another month or two if this DC superhero series will land a full series order, making it the fifth DC Comics series on the network. If that does happen, it remains to be seen how that will affect The CW's lineup, with all of these superhero shows already renewed for the 2017-2018 TV season. It's possible that either Black Lightning or one of the other superhero shows could be held off for a mid-season or even a summer debut, instead of trying to cram five superhero shows into five nights of programming. While wait wait to see what The CW decides regarding Black Lightning, take a look at the first official photo below.