The CW has released a first-look image of Cress Williams as title character Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce) in the DC drama pilot (see full photo below). Production is currently underway in Atlanta.
Written by Salim Akil, based on the DC character created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden, Black Lightning centers on Jefferson Pierce (Williams). He made his choice: He hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter hellbent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend Black Lightning.
“I knew way too much about the world as a young boy growing up in Richmond, California,” said Salim Akil. “I was no stranger to violence, death, hopelessness or the feeling that no one cared about what was happening in my life. Comics were a great way for me to escape. I was about 13 when Black Lightning was created, and finally there was a Black Super Hero that gave a damn about our neighborhood and our lives.”
“Resurrecting him at a time in our society when a sense of hope is lacking…Black Lightning will be that hope,” he added. “And in updating the suit, it will signal to a new generation that it’s time to harness and release our power, and become our own Super Heroes.”
The new Black Lightning costume was designed by Laura Jean Shannon, whose credits include the upcoming Jumanji sequel, The Jungle Book, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Blade: Trinity, Good Girls Revolt and Iron Man, for which she received a Costume Designers Guild Award nomination.
Greg Berlanti, Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil and Sarah Schechter are executive producers of Black Lightning from Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television. Salim Akil is directing the pilot from a script he wrote.