The highly anticipated “Arrowverse” crossover (of Arrow, The Flash and Supergirl) has included a brief teaser for the upcoming DC Comics/CW series Black Lightning, which is set to premiere next year.
Lasting only about six seconds, it shows the main character, Jefferson Pierce (played by Cress Williams), standing in the rain. A close-up of his face shows that electricity seems to be crackling within his eyes.
“People out there need me,” his voice-over declares. “Black Lightning is back.”
This line references something that had already been announced—that in this story, Black Lightning begins as a retired superhero, but one who is quickly forced to throw himself back into the fight. He is opposed to The One Hundred, a vicious gang led by the albino villain Tobias Whale (played by Marvin “Krondon” Jones III).
This concept of Black Lightning as an older, retired superhero separates him from the other CW superhero protagonists, all of whom begin their stories in their twenties and inexperienced. Also different is that he has a family—ex-wife Lynn (played by Christine Adams) and daughters Jennifer and Anissa (played China Anne McClain and Nafessa Williams, respectively).
Apparently, Pierce retired from heroics nine years before the series began, worried that his actions were putting a strain on his loved ones. He has since taken up a normal job as principal of a charter high school. The show will use non-linear storytelling in order to flesh out his history as a superhero, juxtaposing it to his modern day storyline about resuming his old mantle.
The show has currently been described as not part of the shared “Arrowverse” continuity; however, the same was originally said for Supergirl, so that may change in the future.
Black Lightning has an interesting history as a character, being DC Comics’ first headlining black superhero (though John Stewart, one of the Green Lanterns, was their first black superhero period).