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There aren't very many empires on TV these days - and I'm not talking about Lucious Lyon here - but mega-producer Greg Berlanti and his creative partners have certainly created one for superheroes over on The CW. And it looks like the Flash and Arrow co-creator will be adding to his already massive slate by developing a new TV drama based on the DC superhero Black Lightning, and he's teamed with The Game creator Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil to put this thing together. I was just hoping he'd get a cameo on Flash one day; this is better.
Don't go thinking that Black Lightning would automatically be a CW series, either, as that's not necessarily the case. The project is reportedly being shipped around to different networks, with Warner Bros. TV as the studio behind it, along with Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions. I'm guessing Mara Brock Akil (who also created BET's Being Mary Jane) and Salim would be handling the writing and showrunning duties if things move forward, given how busy Berlanti is elsewhere, but we'll have to wait and see.
No plot details were given by Deadline about how the project would adapt Black Lightning's story, but we'll assume it'll keep close to the original while dropping in lots of twists and turns, as it's gone with Greg Berlanti's other comic book series. Created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, Black Lightning is the metahuman side of Olympian Jefferson Pierce, who decides to start using his powers after returning to his old neighborhood (in Metropolis) and finding it had been ravaged by a criminal organization called The 100.
His powers, as you can imagine, are largely based on electric currents and energy fields, and he is easily powerful enough to do any kind of damage he wishes to others with his lightning bolts. Plus, Pierce's athletic talents were super-heightened, so he's got all the physical abilities as well like speed, strength, etc. Sometimes his powers came from a belt that he used to create electrical energy, and sometimes they came from his own DNA. If they came from a particle accelerator explosion on TV, we know what that means.
Black Lightning was one of DC's first black superheroes - crafted from the ashes of a politically incorrect initial pitch - and has thus not been much of a headliner as far as non-comic projects go, unfortunately. Should Berlanti and the Akils get this drama off the ground, it'll be Jefferson Pierce's first trip to live-action. I'm guessing that Marvel's Luke Cage Netflix show and the upcoming Black Panther feature reminded DC that they could always stand to be a little more diverse on the small screen. The hero has been seen in animated series such as Batman: The Brave and the Bold and Young Justice: Invasion.
It's not clear when we'll get to hear anything more about Black Lightning's future, but you can bet that networks are going to be scrambling for their metaphorical wallets to get this one on TV fairly quickly. In the meantime, check out all of the superhero shows that are definitely coming to TV in the next few months with our fall premiere schedule.