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Black Lightning's Cress Williams Lands First Big TV Role After Exiting Arrowverse

Cress Williams as Black Lightning on The Flash
(Image credit: The CW)

Cress Williams became a familiar face to superhero fans on the small screen with his role as Jefferson Pierce (a.k.a. Black Lightning) in the Arrowverse series. The series ended nearly a year ago, but now the actor has found a new project that could bring him back to network TV. 

According to Deadline, the Black Lightning vet will join the ensemble NBC ranch drama pilot Unbroken. Williams will star opposite the previously-announced Scott Bakula, Anna Wood, and Oluniké Adeliyi, amongst other names including United States of Al’s Amanda Payton and The Bold and the Beautiful’s Deleon de Metz. The ensemble drama centers on three ranch dynasties fighting to survive as a group of young female bull riders set their sights on winning at the National Championship of Rodeo.

The actor will play retired bull-riding champ Will Stanton, who currently serves as the manager of the Holleren ranch owned by Bakula’s character Ash. He will serve as the best friend to de Metz’s Cole. His character will be the warm father of two adult children who is hard to shake up. One of those children is his daughter Ngozi “Gozi” being played by newcomer Shian Tomlinson. Her character will strive to become a champion bull-rider like her father.

It will be nice to see Cress Williams on the small screen again after Black Lightning ended its four-season run in 2021. While not initially a part of the Arrowverse, the superhero became an integral part of the far-stretching TV universe as an ally in the crossover event “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” William then reprised the character in The Flash crossover event “Armageddon.” This new role might mean the end of the electricity-conducting superhero’s time in the multiverse even though the actor is open to returning, if Unbroken is ordered to series.

Of course, before becoming a beloved Arrowverse figure, the television veteran spent many years popping up in notable TV shows. He made appearances in 1990s staples like Living Single, Beverly Hills, 90210, and ER. As his career advanced, Cress Williams landed roles in series like Nash Bridges, Grey’s Anatomy, Friday Night Lights, and Hart of Dixie.

Right now, Unbroken is just in the pilot stage, so there's no guarantee that Cress Williams will make it to primetime as Will Stanton. Hopefully, the pilot will get a full series order, and allow fans to see the actor on television again. It would be interesting to see Black Lightning taking care of a ranch for Quantum Leap’s Sam Beckett.

It will likely be a while before anyone hears word on the pilot’s fate. In the meantime, Arrowverse fans can relive Jefferson Pierce’s heroic exploits and family bonding with a Netflix or Amazon Prime subscription to stream Black Lightning.  

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