Cress Williams and Christine Adams explained how the upcoming CW series “Black Lightning” is different from the other superhero series on the network.
“We’re in a real city [Atlanta], not a fictional city,” Williams said of the setting of the new series during an interview with TV Guide on The CW Upfronts red carpet on Thursday. “Our world is more about the real world. When I saw the little trailer, I got chills because it’s rooted in the things like violence by police officers against black people and things like that. That’s happening. It’s happening in our world.”
Adams, meanwhile, pointed out that “Black Lightning” features two young African-American girls as major characters — something that people don’t always see on TV. “As a woman, as a mother to two daughters … I’m so excited that there’s gonna be something on the screen for young African-American girls to identify with,” Adams told the news outlet, referring to the characters played by her co-stars China Anne McLain and Nafessa Williams.
“These girls not only will have superpowers, but [they] are [also] intelligent and driven and focused and want to do good things in the world. [They are also] struggling with things that all teenagers [go through],” continued Adams. “So that’s what I feel so excited [about] because I really feel that it’s something that people have never seen on television before and I think it’s going to resonate with a lot of people. A lot of young girls will gonna connect with it.”
“Black Lightning” — which hails from Arrowverse executive producer Greg Berlanti as well as “The Game” and “Being Mary Jane” creator Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil — revolves around father-of-two Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams), who retired from his superhero gig as Black Lightning years ago. But Jefferson is forced to return to his vigilante ways when one of his daughters becomes hell-bent on justice, and the other is being recruited by a local gang.
Nafessa Williams and McLain play Jefferson’s daughters, Anissa (Thunder) and Jennifer (Lightning), respectively. Adams, meanwhile, portrays Lynn Pierce, the siblings’ mom and Jefferson’s former wife.
Although Berlanti serves as an executive producer for the series, The CW announced during their Upfront presentation in New York City that “Black Lightning” won’t immediately be part of the same universe as the other CW superhero shows — ‘Arrow,’ ‘The Flash,’ ‘Supergirl’ and ‘Legends of Tomorrow’ — which have all crossed over with each other. Instead, “Black Lightning” will use its first season to establish its own identity before looking into any potential crossover in the future.
“Black Lightning” films in Atlanta and not in Vancouver, where all the other superhero shows shoot. So logistically, there would have been issues setting up a crossover with “Black Lightning” even if it was envisioned as a part of the Arrowverse.
The CW has yet to announce the exact premiere date for “Black Lightning,” but the new series will premiere midseason.
Watch the first trailer for “Black Lightning” below, and tell us what you think about it in the comments section!