The CW has released the first official image of Cress Williams (Hart of Dixie, Living Single) in costume as the titular character of their Black Lightning series from Greg Berlanti, the architect of the network’s Arrowverse, which also features Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. The series will feature Cress as retired superhero Jefferson Pierce, who decides to suit up again when his daughters, Jennifer (China Anne McClain) and Anissa (Nafessa Williams), get into trouble with a local gang. The pilot, currently filming in Atlanta, is being directed by executive producer Salim Akil (The Game, Sparkle) from a script he co-wrote with wife Mara Brock Akil (The Game, Girlfriends).
Salim goes into detail about the effect comics and his feelings toward Black Lightning, revealing:
“I knew way too much about the world as a young boy growing up in Richmond, California. 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.”
The suit was designed by Laura Jean Shannon, whose credits include The Jungle Book, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Iron Man, for which she received a Costume Designers Guild Award nomination. Check it out below along with some comic book illustrations of different variations of the costume over the years.
Look for the Black Lightning pilot to premiere sometime later this year.