On Thursday, news broke that Black Lightning, one of the first black DC Comics superheroes, will be getting his own TV series. It will be co-produced by Greg Berlanti’s Berlanti Productions at Warner Bros. Television. Even if it does land on another network, it could still be linked to the shows on The CW, just as Supergirl was in its first season when it still aired on CBS.
On September 8, Deadline reported that Fox has the show with a pilot commitment. That means at the very least, a pilot will be produced.
Who is Black Lightning and who is behind the series? Read on to find out.
1. The Pilot Will be Written by Mara Brock Akil, Who Created ‘Being Mary Jane’ With Gabrielle Union
The pilot will be written by Mara Brok Akil, who created BET’s Being Mary Jane, starring Gabrielle Union. She also created the long-running series The Game. Her husband, Salim Akil, will co-produce with Akil and Berlanti under their Akil Productions. Sarah Schechter of Berlanti Productions will co-executive produce.
Deadline reports that the project has been in the works for over a year before WBTV began pitching it to networks.
2. Black Lightning’s Real Name is Jefferson Pierce & Debuted in 1977
Although the John Stewart Green Lantern character debuted in 1971, Black Lightning was still one of the few black DC Comics characters. He debuted in 1977 with his own title and was created by Tony Isabella, who previously worked on Marvel’s Luke Cage, and Trevor Von Eeden.
Black Lightning‘s real name is Jefferson Michael Piece. According to the character’s first origin, he was an Olympic gold medalist who grew up in Suicide Slum in Metropolis. He originally got his powers from a belt, but his origin was later changed to give him metahuman abilities to use lightning.
He used his powers to fight against the gang known as The 100 and local corrupt politicians.
3. He Was a Member of Batman’s Outsiders Team
When Batman decided to create his own team, called The Outsiders, he recruited Pierce to join. Pierce helped Batman save Lucius Fox and later joined The outsiders. Eventually, the group broke up and Pierce found a job as a teacher in Brick City. Pierce also worked in the Lex Luthor Administration as Secretary of Education.
In 2009, DC Comics published a six-issue limited series called Black Lightning: Year One, which was written by Jen Van MEter and drawn by Cully Hamner.
Black Lightning was used during the New 52 reboot. The character also showed up in episodes of Batman: The Brave and the Bold and the second season of Young Justice.
4. Black Lightning Also Has Two Daughters Who Became Thunder & Lightning
Black Lightning also has two daughters, Anissa Pierce and Jennifer Pierce. Anissa became Thunder and was a member of the Outsiders. Jennifer became Lightning and joined the Justice Society of America. Both characters are relatively new to the DC universe.
Thunder made her debut in Justice Society of America Vol. 3 #12 in March 2008 and has the ability to turn electricity into a sentient being. Thunder debuted in Oustiders Vol. 3 #1 in August 2003 and has the ability to create shock waves and can manipulate density.
Based on Deadline’s report, the series will use at least one of Pierce’s daughters. The series will start after Pierce retired, but his daughter wants justice and is being recruited by a local gang. This will inspire him to get back in action as Black Lightning.
5. ‘Black Lightning’ Will be the 8th DC Entertainment Show If It’s Picked Up
If Black Lightning makes it to television, it will be Berlanti’s fifth DC series and the eighth overall DC Entertainment show. Berlanti already has Supergirl, Arrow, The Flash and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow on The CW, which also airs iZombie.
The Batman prequel series Gotham airs on Fox, along with Lucifer, a series based on a Vertigo comic.
Berlanti is also the producer behind NBC’s Blindspot and is working on ABC’s Criminal and an adaptation of the U.K. series Raised by Wolves.