Black Lightning‘s showrunner Salim Akil has firmly stated that the show doesn’t connect to The CW’s other superhero shows, but an intriguing line in the pilot episode hints that this could still change. Black Lightning‘s fellow CW superheroes all exist in a shared universe (well, except for Supergirl, which is simply set in the same multiverse) that is colloquially referred to as the Arrowverse, and last year saw the biggest crossover yet between Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow. Could Black Lightning end up joining them at some point in the future?
The fresh possibility that Black Lightning might be set in the Arrowverse comes from a news segment about halfway through the pilot episode, in which commentator Roland Martin says (of Black Lightning):
“That’s a curious question. Why is he a vigilante, but other communities have folks with superpowers and all of a sudden they’re heroes? This shows you how in this country, for nearly 400 years, there’s a double standard when it comes to us.”
This confirms that – regardless of whether or not it’s set specifically in the Arrowverse – Black Lightning is set in a universe where other established superheroes exist. If the show simply leaves things that vague, it means that at any time it could feasibly be revealed that Jefferson shares a universe with Grant Gustin’s Barry Allen and Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen (or, indeed, with Melissa Benoist’s Kara Danvers).
Black Lightning would certainly be an easy fit with the rest of the Arrowverse. It shares The Flash‘s strong emphasis on the importance of family, Arrow‘s more gritty and mature take on crime-fighting (not everyone walks away alive from Jefferson’s battles), and just a touch of the silliness that Legends of Tomorrow takes to much greater extremes. And of course, Black Lightning gets a terrible yet inexplicably effective superhero disguise.
Akil has been adamant that Black Lightning is its own beast, but with the Arrowverse we’ve learned to never say never. After all, Supergirl started out on an entirely different network before it ultimately came home to roost, and Matt Ryan’s Constantine has also been incorporated after his own NBC show was cancelled. It’s safe to say that Jefferson will stay in Freeland for season 1, and that he won’t get any surprise drop-ins from familiar faces, but if Black Lightning is green lit for a second season… well, who knows what could happen?
Black Lightning returns to The CW @9pm on Tuesday, January 23rd.
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