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Watch Black Lightning on CW January 16, 2018


Black Lightning is an upcoming American television series that will air on The CW, based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil created the series, which stars Cress Williams as the titular character alongside China Anne McClain, Nafessa Williams, Christine Adams, James Remar, Damon Gupton, and Marvin "Krondon" Jones III. The series sees the retired Black Lightning return to the hero life and its effects on his family life.

Development on the series began in September 2016 when Fox ordered a pilot production commitment for Black Lightning. In February 2017, Fox passed on the series, with it being picked up by The CW with a new script for the pilot. The CW officially ordered the series in May 2017. Black Lightning will premiere on January 16, 2018, for a 13-episode run.

 

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Black Lightning Comic Books

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Black Lightning CW Series

Black Lightning is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor Von Eeden, first appearing in Black Lightning #1 (April 1977) during the Bronze Age of Comic Books. He is a member of a fictional subspecies of humans born with superhuman abilities known as metahumans in the DC Universe. Born Jefferson Pierce, he grew up in the disreputable Southside section of Metropolis known as Suicide Slum. Returning to his hometown after an extended leave due to tragedy, Pierce becomes the principal at Garfield High School. Having supressed his abilities since adolescence, he adopts his new alias and persona to combat the criminals and corrupt leadership in the area while protecting his loved ones from harm. He is capable of electrical manipulation and generation. Black Lightning is one of the first major African American superheroes in all of comics and the first to star in their own series for the DC imprint.

Tony Isabella, an experienced writer having done work for the Luke Cage character at Marvel Comics, was signed on to develop DC's first starring black character. He pitched the idea for Black Lightning and it was developed though one single issue was released before the series was cancelled during the infamous DC Implosion. However, the character continued to make appearances in other titles over the years, including a Justice League of America storyline in which Pierce is offered but turns down a position with the group. He does later become one of the founding members of the Batman-helmed Outsiders superhero team.

Pierce has 2 daughters with his former wife who are also metahumans. His eldest daughter Anissa, known as Thunder, can increase the denseness of her physique rendering her almost indestructable and create shockwaves when stomping the ground. Pierce's younger child Jennifer, also a superhero known as Lightning, has powers almost identical to her father though she is still inexperienced and not in full control of them. A common misconception is that Pierce is the father of fellow superhero Static, who debuted much later and possesses similar abilities. Pierce addresses this coincidence in a Justice League narrative.

Along with his presence in comics, Black Lightning has made various appearances in DC-related animated television series, video games and comic strips. The character will be portrayed in live action for the first time by Cress Williams for the self-titled upcoming 2018 television series Black Lightning, a production of The CW network. In 2011, he was ranked 85th overall on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Books Heroes" list.

 

Justice League of America

Years ago, Green Arrow brought Black Lightning to the attention of the Justice League of America, who extended an offer of membership to the protector of Suicide Slum. He turned down the offer, preferring to work as a loner and focus on street-level crime, though he did offer to become a reservist. Years later, when all of the JLA reservists were called in to fight a newly revived Amazo, Black Lighting was one of the heroes called, confirming that the League had accepted his offer. Most recently, however, Black Lightning has joined the JLA, once again appearing with a modified costume. He appears to be primarily based in Washington, D.C. again. Black Lightning assists the JLA with intelligence gathered from the criminal community. Many super villains still believe he is 'in' with Lex Luthor and are willing to cooperate. Jefferson also helps the team in a battle against Amazo. He was the first member of the League to respond to the recent attacks made by the Amazons of Themyscira, and he also saved the President of the United States in this event.

Black Lightning was the focus of the one-shot Final Crisis: Submit, in which he helped the new Tattooed Man and his family escape at the cost of his own freedom. He is subsequently shown in issue 4 of Final Crisis under Darkseid's thrall.

 

Black Lightning (2017- TV Series)

Jefferson Pierce, who retired from his superhero persona Black Lightning 9 years ago after seeing the effects it had on his family, is forced to become a hero again when the rise of the local gang The One Hundred leads to increased crime and corruption in his community.

  • Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce / Black Lightning: A retired superhero with the ability to harness and control electricity who becomes a principal at a charter high school. He returns to fighting crime thanks to his daughter and the threat of a star student being recruited by a local gang.
  • China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce: Jefferson's younger daughter who is "an independent, outspoken scholar-athlete with a wild streak of her own."
  • Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce: Jefferson's older daughter who is in medical school and teaches part-time at Jefferson's school.
  • Christine Adams as Lynn Pierce: Jefferson's ex-wife.
  • James Remar as Peter Gambi: Jefferson's oldest friend, who became a father figure and mentor to him, and works as his "tailor".
  • Damon Gupton as Henderson: A veteran detective inspector with the police, who becomes an unlikely ally to Jefferson, despite his role in the community.
  • Marvin "Krondon" Jones III as Tobias Whale: A former politician who rose through the ranks of local government through corruption but was brought down by Alvin Pierce, Jefferson's father. After killing Alvin, Tobias was exiled, only to become the leader of The 100 gang.
  • Kyanna Simone Simpson as Kiesha: Jennifer Pierce's best friend and the daughter of Henderson, who encourages Jennifer to challenge her perfect image.
  • Edwina Findley as Tori Whale: Tobias Whale's younger sister.
  • Chantal Thuy as Grace Choi: A bartender who becomes the love interest of Anissa.
  • Jill Scott as Lady Eve: The owner of a funeral parlor who connects Tobias Whale with a secret group of corrupt leaders.

 

"Black Lightning"
Season 1 Episodes (2018)

Despite airing on The CW and being created by Berlanti, Mark Pedowitz, president of The CW said in May 2017 that the series "at this time, is not part of the Arrowverse. It is a separate situation." Berlanti had previously stated when the series was in development at Fox that it would not crossover with his other DC Comics television properties on The CW nor would it exist in the Arrowverse. However, Akil later stated that they were not ruling out eventual crossovers. In August 2017, Pedowitz added, "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 of view. If they end up wanting to go that way, that will be their decision."

Episode #1: "The Resurrection" Jan. 16, 2018

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#2 "LaWanda: The Book of Hope" - Jan. 23, 2018

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#3 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#4 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#5 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#6 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#7 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#8 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#9 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#10 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#11 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#12 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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#13 "Untitled" - TBA, 2018

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