Character descriptions have emerged for the CW’s new DC comics superhero show Black Lightning, which is being developed by Arrowverse boss Greg Berlanti, but which hasn’t yet been confirmed as part of the Arrowverse. (It was originally developed for FOX not the CW so it may exist – Supergirl-style – in an alternate reality. Or it may not. Let’s wait and see.)
The series is based on Jefferson Pierce, aka Black Lightning, who, when he was introduced to the DC comics universe back in 1977, was the company’s first leading African American character. In the show Pierce “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.”
Now The Hashtag Show [via CBR], has unearthed four character breakdowns for the show.
JEFFERSON PIERCE: Male, African-American, late 30s to 50. Handsome, fit, with an athletic build. Former thee-time gold medal decathlon winner who is now principal of a high school in South Central Los Angeles. A father figure to his student and hero to the local community. Jefferson is charming, charismatic, smart, and has both warmth and humour. He is devoted to his two daughters and remains deeply in love with his ex-wife Lynn. He also has a great passion for justice and a quick temper that he has spent years learning how to control. Think Idris Elba.
JENNIFER: Female. African-American, Legal 18 to play 16. Jefferson’s younger daughter. Jennifer is a scholar athlete; beautiful with a lean, athletic runner’s build. She is the entitled feminist of the Pierce family. Independent and outspoken with a wild streak. SERIES REGUALR, ASP.
ANISSA: Female. African-American, to play 22. Jefferson’s elder daughter. Beautiful, quick-witted and intelligent; intense and passionate. Anissa has a great respect for her father. Anissa balances the demands of medical school with her duties as a part time teacher at Jefferson’s school. SERIES REGULAR, ASP.
LYNN: Female, African-American, mid 30s to 50. Exudes confidence and intelligence. Beautiful, but not to be trifled with. Can exhibit both great emotional depth as well as a flirtatious, mischievous side. SERIES REGULAR, ASP.
With Jefferson and his wife both being in a “mid 30s to 50” age bracket, does that indicate that the CW is aiming for a more mature audience? Or a sign that it’s abandoning perceived wisdom that younger audiences will only watch shows fronted by beautiful young things? After all, some of the most popular character in the Arrowverse – Joe West, John Diggle, J’onn J’onzz – are played mature black actors, so why not?
For the moment, Black Lightning is only a pilot order and may not go to series.