UPDATE 9/7/16: Following last week’s announcement that a live-action series based on the superhero was in the works, it’s been announced today that the “Black Lightning” TV series adaptation has landed at Fox with a pilot commitment. When the project was initially announced last week, it looked like it was heading to The CW network, given that all other Greg Berlanti superhero series currently air on The CW. But it’s heading to Fox – home to other superhero-themed series like “Gotham.”
The previous announcement of the collaboration between Mara Brock and Salim Akil and Berlanti, follows below with all the details on the character – one of the first major African American superheroes to appear in DC Comics.
According to DC Comics Universe lore, Black Lightning (real name Jefferson Pierce) – created by Tony Isabella and Trevor von Eeden, first appearing in “Black Lightning #1” (1977) – is a super-hero with the ability to generate and control lightning. Originally he was a high school principal and Olympic-level athlete who became a vigilante to take down organized crime in Metropolis’ Suicide Slum. Eventually he would become a member of Batman’s team of Outsiders for many years, although he retired briefly to become secretary of education underneath president Lex Luthor. Returning to crime-fighting, he has also been a member of the Justice League. His two daughters operate as the super-heroes Thunder and Lightning.
The character was one of the first major African American superheroes to appear in DC Comics.
And now a live-action series based on the superhero is set to come to your TV screens – The CW specifically – in a collaboration between Mara Brock and Salim Akil and Greg Berlanti, the man behind all of the CW’s DC universe series.
Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil will write and executive produce the series with Berlanti Prods.’ Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, for Warner Bros. TV (recall the Akils inked a 3-year deal with Warner Bros. after exiting BET last year; “Black Lightning” will be their second project under the new deal; the first, announced a week ago, will be a comedy series titled “Documenting Love” which will center on a modern-day power couple navigating life, love and family.
Per Deadline, the Black Lightning series has been in the works at Warner Bros. for over a year, going through different variations, because the TV studio wanted to make sure it got the character, his world, and the overall series right.
No word at this time on how the comic book hero will be transferred to the small screen, and certainly no casting news. Although I assume The CW is likely eyeing a 2017/2018 TV season premiere. Unless it’s going to be fast-tracked for as a mid-season 2016/2017 replacement, but I doubt it. Although it would’ve been nice to have both Luke Cage and Black Lightning premiere their TV series around the same time.
The character has appeared in a number of animated series and films, but never in his own series, and definitely not live-action.