Black Lightning Showrunner Explains Why It’s Not Part Of The Arrowverse


Following Supergirl‘s move from CBS to The CW, the network now has four superhero TV series on the air. The others are, of course, The FlashLegends of Tomorrow and Arrow, but a fifth will soon be added in the form of Black Lightning. While that’s certainly exciting, those of you hoping that the titular hero will be seen standing side by side with characters from those other shows are going to be seriously disappointed.

That’s because he won’t be part of the Arrowverse, nor will he be included in any future crossover event. That also means we can rule out seeing Black Lightning make a cameo appearance in one of the other CW DC shows. Why have they decided to keep him separate, you ask? Well, that’s a very good question, and one that showrunner Salim Akil has an answer for.

While chatting to critics at a TCA panel this week, he explained the following:

“I say this with all due respect, but they’re not really relevant to the show that we’re doing. The great thing that Warner Bros. and CW allowed us to do was create our own world. We really wanted folk to get to know this family before we started branching out.”

Continuing on, Akil said that The CW fully supports the decision to keep the show separate.

“Oftentimes there’s so many reports about studios and networks, and I just want to say again that what you see is a direct result of people supporting us in this. This idea of why they’re not in this universe or why they’re not in the ‘Justice League’ is because … [we were told] ‘You’ve got to do this the way you want to do this. You’re going to live and die by that, and we support you.’ That’s what you’re seeing.”

Pegged for a premiere later this month, where it’ll join other DC-related adaptations in the vein of The FlashArrow, and Legends of TomorrowBlack Lightning places Cress Williams in the boots of Jefferson Pierce, a retired vigilante-turned-family-man who walked away from a life of fighting crime in order to raise a family…only to be pulled back into the game.

Widely considered to be one of the first prominent black superheroes of the 1970s, a small-screen rendition of Black Lightning is no small matter, but it seems that all involved have pulled it off. At least, if early reviews are any indication. Our very own Eric Joseph, for instance, had nothing but good things to say about the show, concluding the following:

Capable of warming hearts just as The Flash does while being more similar in tone to ArrowBlack Lightning stands as one of the more sophisticated additions to the DC TV landscape.

That’s a glowing recommendation if we’ve ever heard one and only has us all the more excited to sit down for Black Lightning‘s premiere on January 16th.