Black Lightning adds two new cast members, James Remar and Damon Gupton, as series regulars. The show marks a departure from the usual superhero expectation in that Jefferson Pierce is pulled out of retirement out of necessity. The series stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning; Nafessa Williams as his oldest daughter, Anissa Pierce; and China Anne McClain as her younger sister, Jennifer Pierce. He's a middle-aged father with daughters and deals with issues that are relevant today and are rooted in real world problems, like the gang violence that has rocked his city.
The series does not begin with an origin story of how Pierce gained his metahuman abilities. Instead, based on the first Black Lightning trailer, fans come into his life after he's not been a "hero" for nearly 10 years. He's just trying to live a normal life, but the crime lord who's got a tight grip on the city, Tobias Whale, has other plans. Whale, the expected big bad of the first season, has not been cast yet.
However, during The CW's San Diego Comic-Con panel, Deadline reports that the series announced two additions to the cast as series regulars. Veteran actor, and no stranger to DC TV after a stint on Gotham, James Remar has joined Black Lightning to play Peter Gambi. Damon Gupton (Criminal Minds, Bates Motel) will be stepping in as the highest ranking detective on the local police force. The characters full descriptions are as follows:
Peter Gambi, the oldest friend of Jefferson Pierce. Gambi is Jefferson’s father figure, mentor and 'tailor.' His history with Jefferson goes back farther and deeper than anyone knows, and Gambi’s role in Jefferson’s life will become a painful window into the past that will affect the future of their relationship forever.
Inspector Henderson, a veteran officer of the law who is now the highest-ranking detective on the force. His role in the community puts him at odds with Black Lightning, but they soon become unlikely allies.
The description of Gambi feels like the character will have an inside track on both Jefferson Pierce and his Black Lightning alter-ego. Seeing as how he's Pierce's oldest friend, it wouldn't come as a surprise if the character takes on an Alfred-esque role to the former superhero.
Black Lighting has't actually filmed its first season yet, but CW is abuzz about the new series showing off a TV Guide cover and a new sizzle reel at Comic-Con. Not officially part of the Arrowverse (but don't count out a crossover), the series is slated for a mid-season premiere. Even without ties to the larger Arrowverse, showrunner Salim Akil might be taking a page out executive producer Greg Berlanti's book by using Black Lightning to introduce another, more well known DC character in Static Shock. From one lightning bug to another, this series is as good a jumping off point as any to get a live action Static Shock series on the small screen.
Black Lightning is expected to debut on The CW in January 2018.