Nafessa Williams (Code Black) and China Anne McClain (House of Payne) have landed leads opposite Cress Williams in Black Lightning, the CW’s DC drama pilot from Greg Berlanti, king of the CW’s DC universe, and the Being Mary Jane duo of Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil.

Written by Akil and Brock Akil, based on the DC character created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden, and to be directed by Akil, 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, Jennifer (McCain) 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.

thunderlightning
DC Nation

McCain plays Jefferson’s younger daughter, the teenage Jennifer Piere, an independent, outspoken scholar-athlete with a wild streak of her own. Williams is Anissa Pierce — passionate and quick-witted, Jefferson’s twenty-something daughter balances the demands of medical school with her job teaching part-time at her father’s school.

In the DC comics, Anissa and Jennifer follow in their father’s footsteps and become superheroes, taking on the names of Thunder and Lightning, respectively.

Akil and Brock Akil executive produce with Berlanti Prods.’ Berlanti and Sarah Schechter for Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television.

McClain is best known as music prodigy Chyna Parks in Disney Channel’s series A.N.T. Farm and as the feisty Jazmine Payne in the Tyler Perry sitcom House of Payne. She recently wrapped the Lionsgate/WWE Studios film Brother’s Blood opposite Trey Songz, and stars in Disney Channel’s upcoming Descendants 2. She is repped by ICM Partners and Morris Yorn.

Williams, who had a major recurring role on CBS’ medical drama Code Black this season, will next be seen in Showtime’s Twin Peaks reboot. She is repped by Link Entertainment and Concept Talent Group.