When it came to creating the world of Black Lightning, the executive producers elected to approach this superhero tale from a different angle, beginning with his rebirth rather than telling an origin story.
“I wanted to talk about the idea of being pulled back into your community,” said EP and showrunner Salim Akil, who was on hand at Deadline’s The Contenders Emmys event with star Cress Williams and EP Mara Brock Akil. “It seems like powers were always positive. I wanted to show the other side of powers and what they can take away from you, as well and how they can be a burden. We wanted to start him in a place where he was pushed to the side and was pulled back into the world and reluctantly became a hero again.”
It also important for the CW series to portray a positive narrative for black men. “The show is anchored in putting the black man at the center of the conversation,” said Brock Akil. “Outside in the world, we’re talking a lot about black men, and a lot of times the images don’t see him as not just a father, but a man loving his women and as a principal, having to be a father to other children.”
As the Season 1 finale approaches and with a Season 2 pickup in the bag, the EPs are looking to explore on the development of Black Lightning’s daughters, who are coming into their own powers, in future episodes.
“Going into the second season, what I want to explore is the idea that you have these children and now you realize they have these powers,” said Akil. “You have one daughter who loves the idea of having powers and you have another daughter who despises the idea of having powers, but she still has them. How does that affect your children? How do you deal with?”
Black Lighting airs Tuesdays on The CW.