Warner Bros. has a lot of DC Comics-based TV and movie projects in development right now, but one that has gone fairly quiet since being announced last year is Static Shock, a digital webseries featuring teenage superhero Virgil Hawkins (a.k.a Static), whose powers are based around electromagnetism. Static was the star of Warner Bros. Animation series Static Shock, which ran for several seasons starting in 2000, and the studio announced the live-action series last fall.
Static Shock is set to be written, produced and directed by Reginald Hudlin (Django Unchained), and shortly after it was first announced there were rumors that Jaden Smith (After Earth) was being considered for the lead role. This would make him the third member of the Smith family to join the DC universe, since Jada Pinkett-Smith played Fish Mooney in season one of Gotham, and Will Smith is playing Deadshot in Suicide Squad.
Given the current prevalence of comic book properties, one question that's become pretty standard for interviews with actors is, "Would you like to play a superhero?" Tyler James Williams, who starred in last year's comedy-drama Dear White People and also played Noah in The Walking Dead, was hit with this question during an interview at MCM Comic Con in London over the weekend, and his response suggested that Smith is still set to play Static.
"I'd love to, I'd absolutely love to [play a superhero]," Williams responded, before going on to note that there aren't a great deal of young, black superheroes. After Static and Spider-Man (the Miles Morales version) were mentioned to him, Williams joked, "I don't know what you're talking about," before adding, "But yeah, no, it's great to see Static Shock is happening with Jaden."
Williams isn't directly involved with Static Shock so this can't really be taken as confirmation that Smith is definitely going to lead the webseries, but it does bolster the rumor from last fall and suggests that Static Shock is still in active development. It was originally announced alongside a slew of other projects, including webseries based on Critters and Mortal Kombat.
Smith wasn't the most popular choice when the casting rumors first arose, since his last major appearance was in M. Night Shyamalan sci-fi After Earth, which received a lot of bad reviews that included criticisms of Smith's acting. The fact that he's repeatedly starred in movies produced by his father has also led to accusations of nepotism, though that's hardly a rare thing in Hollywood.
It makes sense that out of all the web series Warner Bros. announced as being in development, the one that ties into the DC universe would be a priority. Still, until there's more news from someone involved in Static Shock, continue to treat the Smith casting as likely, but unconfirmed.
We'll keep you updated on Static Shock as development continues. In the meantime, enjoy this Static Shock Flash game.