For those happy Black Lightning has not yet been roped into the alien and time travel shenanigans of the Arrowverse, here’s some good news. Showrunner Salim Akil sees promise in the new CW series potentially creating a universe of its own.
Sounds like a “Lightningverse” could be in our future.
Akil sat down with Yahoo Movies UK to discuss Black Lightning and was asked about potentially starting a “Lightningverse” with superhero shows of its own. He said, “Yeah, let’s hope so, we want to entertain.”
With Black Lightning, Akil says the creators “want to entertain and make people laugh and get them excited about the fight sequences, and the characters that are coming in, as well as the villains that are coming in. We hope it will be a well-rounded experience so yes, we’d love to see other superheroes come through.” Black Lightning is the first hero of color to lead a series on the CW, and the show has a distinct energy that feels fresh, so it should use the freedom that comes starting something new to add a new crop of heroes and villains from the DC universe, rather than dip into The Flash and Arrow’s established roster.
One possible direction the universe could go in is to add the DC hero Static Shock. Akil said the introduction of the hero, who has electromagnetic powers, “could be interesting.”
While Static Shock’s story has been told in an animated series in 2000 Kids’ WB cartoon, the character has yet to make a live-action appearance.
With Black Lightning in its first season, any potential spinoffs and universe-building could be a way off, but there are already existing avenues the producers could utilize.
Anissa Pierce (Nafessa Williams) is the daughter of Black Lightning and viewers have already seen her discover she has powers of her own. Those familiar with the character’s comic book counterpart know she becomes the hero Thunder, who at one point becomes a member of a group known as The Outsiders. The team has appeared in DC comic books in a variety of line-ups. Thunder is one of the heroes on a version of the team, but there’s even a line-up that includes Black Lightning.
The CW is a network full of shows about young people saving the day, and sometimes, the world, so a show about the team with Anissa could be a great fit.
The team itself could be coming to the series soon since actress Chantai Thuy has been cast as bartender Grace Choi, who is also a love interest for Anissa. Grace Choi’s comic book counterpart also happens to be a DC hero herself and, more interestingly, a member of The Outsiders.
Both of these methods have been used by the Arrowverse, which now includes Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) was introduced on Arrow with the intention of creating a series around the speedster. When the franchise added Legends of Tomorrow it took several characters from the existence Arrowverse shows to create an ensemble cast.
Odds are pulling Black Lightning into the Arrowverse won’t hurt the show, but it may limit its ability to grow. The network already has 5 DC shows, 4 of which are connected to the Arrowverse. This pre-existing shared universe, packed with heroes of its own, might be the biggest thing standing in the way of Black Lightning’s potential for growth.
Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. Eastern on The CW.