Black Lightning was picked up by The CW for the 2017/2018 season, and now the show's creator has revealed that the network nabbed it without a full pilot being filmed. The show will become the network's latest adaptation of a classic DC character, joining the Green Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, and the Legends of Tomorrow. The show won't actually be crossing over with the larger Arrowverse, however, and was originally created with a different network in mind: Fox.
The CW picked up the show after Fox passed on the concept, which goes a long way to explain the differences between Black Lightning and the other DC shows. Since the news broke, fans have been able to watch a trailer for the series, showing Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) in all his electric glory, and it was assumed that this meant a full pilot had been filmed for the show. However, it has now been revealed that the trailer was cut together from a short presentation, not a full episode for the network.
Related: Black Lighting First Look Trailer
At the East Coast Black Age Of Comics Convention, creator Tony Isabella clarified in an interview with iDigital Times that the show was picked up off an eight-to-12 minute presentation, not a full pilot.
People kept talking about a Black Lightning pilot having been filmed. No. No pilot was filmed. They did a presentation piece, which was then cut into the trailer. And when I first heard that from DC, I thought it was a bad thing. And then they told me no, well, we sold Legends of Tomorrow with a picture of the cast and brief synopsis
As Isabella points out, the lack of a pilot episode is not necessarily bad news for the series. While many series present a full pilot episode to networks, it's not a necessity to be ordered to series. With the show also being pitched to The CW after being turned down at Fox, it would make sense for a shorter presentation to be created that would allow the network to make more suggestions for changes and create a show that better suits their brand.
This also means that there are only three-to-nine minutes of unseen footage currently in the bank for the show, which could simply never see the light of day, or which could be used as extra promotional material ahead of the premiere. With a midseason launch in the works, there's still a while to go before filming really gets going on the series, and it's actually a positive to know that the pilot is going to be filmed in line with The CW's plans for the rest of the show.
Black Lightning is a midseason premiere on The CW.
Source: iDigital Times