Several months ago, the producer of Arrow and The Flash, Greg Berlanti, along with The Game creators, Mara Brock Akil and her husband Salim Akil, announced their plans to bring Black Lightning to television. Originally in development at FOX, the pilot has been picked up by the CW with a pilot order.
Black Lightning, one of DC’s first African-American superheroes in its comic books, is an electric-based superhero who fights crime in his working-class neighborhood in southern Metropolis. At the TCA press tour last month, Berlanti said Black Lightning would be “unlikely” to share continuity with the CW shows, but there’s precedent for that to change; Supergirl enjoyed a strong ratings bump in its first crossover with The Flash, even while the former was on CBS. Supergirl changed networks last fall to, where else, the CW.
The prospect of Black Lightning on the CW is immediately more exciting than when it was in the works at FOX, which passed on the show due to its packed slate of comic book programming (to which the CW howled with laughter, probably). Shared continuities are all the rage, and any TV show not connected to a larger tapestry is kind of an outlier; Gotham and Lucifer, two DC shows on FOX, retain a mid-range reputation, while Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow verge on a level belonging to summer Hollywood movies. Plus, as a major show starring a black male lead, seeing Black Lightning being on the same level as Supergirl and the Green Arrow would be a major win for diversity in popular culture.
There is no project release date set for Black Lightning, though the CW-verse shows are airing now.