Another costumed superhero is making the leap from the pages of a comic book to the world of the CW: Black Lightning. Coming this fall, Black Lightning will be the sixth show based on DC characters for the network, joining Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl, and iZombie (which is published by Vertigo, a DC imprint).
The new show stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce, a retired superhero who has given up fighting on the streets to do good as the principal of a high school. With two daughters and a desire to help his community, he is drawn back into the superhero game as violence erupts once more. The show’s full synopsis was released earlier this month, along with the full trailer for the upcoming freshman season. The show looks like a phenomenal addition to the network’s comic book programming, but fans were surprised to hear that Black Lightning would not be part of the larger Arrowverse according to network president Mark Pedowitz:
Black Lightning at this time is not part of the Arrowverse. It is a separate situation. But there will be a big fourth quarter crossover with all four shows on in the fall.
This may not have been what fans were expecting, but it could actually be good news for the show.
The Arrowverse So Far
Since Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) first shot his way onto the small screen in 2012, the CW’s DC universe has grown to span four main shows (and a few lesser-known inclusions), multiple cities, more than one Earth, and a few different timelines.
First, Arrow introduced us to Star City (then Starling City), and the CW’s slew of archers. Then, in 2014, The Flash spun off from Arrow, after Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) popped up in season 2. Barry returned to Central City after helping Team Arrow, the particle accelerator exploded, and a whole slew of metahumans were introduced to this world. The number of major super-powered characters grew on both shows until eventually, a whole group of them banded together under the leadership of Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill) to spin off into their own show: Legends of Tomorrow. At around the same time, Supergirl premiered on CBS, and after season 1 failed to land, the CW welcomed Kara (Melissa Benoist) into the fold for season 2. All four shows now cross over on a somewhat regular basis, despite Supergirl existing on an alternate Earth, and the Legends wandering throughout time on their adventures.
In addition to the four main shows of the Arrowverse, Constantine has also been joined to the main universe despite starting life on another network. The series launched on NBC but was canceled after the first season. While the CW didn’t pick up the entire show, they have scooped up Matt Ryan’s character, who has since shown up in the Arrowverse several times. All of this leaves us with a fully-functioning multiverse, several timelines (thanks to both the Legends and Barry’s habit of going back to fix his mistakes), and two shows connected from other networks. As if that wasn’t enough for the CW and DC, the Arrowverse has their own line of comics to continue the story, as well as shorter animated series like Vixen, which also includes the same characters.