If Salim Akil could use the heroes of Milestone comics on Black Lightning, his first pick would be Hardware.
While fans have often asked about Static Shock, Akil said that Hardware would be his first choice -- not just because having Black Lightning and Static on the same show could end up feeling a bit redundant but also because Hardware would bring a fresh perspective to the series. He also tossed out another idea:
"Icon's conservative, so that would be interesting," Akil admitted.
In the show's second season, Black Lightning will deal with themes of family and community, as well as introducing numerous new metahumans and continuing the show's use of Freeland's Green Light epidemic as a metaphor for the American opioid crisis.
The show's politics up to this point have been left-of-center, and the show's culture has been predominantly black. While that will continue into the new season, Akil has said more than once that he wants to build bridges to unite Americans who are increasingly divided among lines of class, race, and party.
"We introduced the drug Greenlight, sort of paralleling the introduction of crack into the African-American community, opioids into the white community," Akil explained during Comic Con. "So I think people can identify with that. One of the biggest stereotypes that is out there, is that all white people are rich and doing great....That is one of the worst stereotypes, because what it tends to do is divide us. If we could find those common grounds and see that we are all sort of suffering and dealing with the same shit -- crack, opioids, 'I need a better job. I need a better school, a better education.' -- So going into this new season, we're going to debunk that stereotype, so that we can see each other. Someone was asking me, what genre would I want to do if I wasn't doing this genre. I want to do the genre of bridge-building. The fact that that bridge hasn't been built, has been f---ing us up for a while now."
Hardware, created by comics legends Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan, is a genius inventor who, in his Hardware identity, uses a variety of high-tech gadgets to fight organized crime, never suspecting that his employer, whose resources Hardware uses, is actually a crime boss himself.
Black Lightning returns tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET/PT following the season premiere of The Flash on The CW.