The CW is already the go-to channel for anybody looking for a buffet of superhero TV. What started as a show based on a lesser-known Justice League hero has spawned into a massive universe – Arrow enabled The Flash, which both led to Legends of Tomorrow, and then Supergirl joined the fun when its second season made the jump to the channel from CBS. If four weekly shows aren’t enough of a fix, though, fret not – Black Lightning is coming.
Arrowverse mastermind Greg Berlanti’s next series was originally set to appear on Fox alongside Gotham, but it recently got a pilot approved The CW. Based on all the reports about the project, it’ll be lifting straight from the comics with a retired superhero – Jefferson Pierce, the titular electric-powered vigilante – getting back in on the job to protect his family from ruthless Metropolis gang The 100, something that offers several inbuilt links to the wider universe.
Now we have some casting details to go along with those rumors. That Hashtag Show has shared the casting descriptions for four of the series regulars – Jefferson Pierce and his family. Check out what The CW are looking for below:
[JEFFERSON PIERCE] Male, African-American, late 30s to 50. Handsome, fit with an athletic build. Former 3-time gold medal decathlon winner who is now principal of a high school in South Central Los Angeles. A father figure to his students and hero to the local community. JEFFERSON is charming, charismatic, smart, and has both warmth and humor. He is devoted to his two daughters and remains deeply in love with his ex-wife LYNN. He also has a great passion for justice and a quick temper that he has spent years learning how to control. Think Idris Elba. LEAD.
[ANISSA] Female, African-American, to play 22. JEFFERSON’s elder daughter. Beautiful, quick-witted and intelligent; intense and passionate. ANISSA has a great respect for her father. ANISSA balances the demands of medical school with her duties as a part time teacher at JEFFERSON’s school. SERIES REGULAR, ASP.
[JENNIFER] Female, African-American, LEGAL 18 to play 16. JEFFERSON’s younger daughter. JENNIFER is a scholar athlete; beautiful with a lean, athletic runner’s build. She is the entitled feminist of the Pierce family. Independent and outspoken with a wild streak. SERIES REGULAR, ASP.
[LYNN] Female, African-American, mid 30s to 50. Exudes confidence and intelligence. Beautiful, but not to be trifled with. Can exhibit both great emotional depth as well as a flirtatious, mischievous side. SERIES REGULAR, ASP.
The big thing the casting does is confirm those plot rumors, playing up Pierce’s fatherly (and wider community) responsibilities and overall giving him a characterization similar to his classic comic role. By far the most intriguing detail is the likening of him to Idris Elba; it would be of course wishful thinking to expect the star to play the role, but his trademark mix of cool and likeability is a strong way to go.
What’s not clear from the descriptions is the plans for the daughters, Anissa and Jennifer. In the comics both have abilities – Anissa can alter her mass and density at will while Jennifer has the powers of her father – and become superheroes in their own right: Thunder and Lightning respectively. The sisters are at first forbidden to use their abilities by their father growing up, leading to conflict with the eldest and an attempt to guide the younger. The ages and descriptions of the characters would seem to suggest this is the direction they’re going in, making the show a complex metaphor for parental control.
That Hashtag Show also had some other production details, revealing that the pilot is set to shoot in March in Atlanta. This may pose an issue in terms of directly crossing over with the other Arrowverse shows, which are all filmed in Vancouver, although that might be good to begin with – it will allow Black Lightning to stand on its own.
Source: That Hashtag Show