The first season of Black Lightning -- coming to The CW in January -- will take place fully within its own universe, and will not feature crossover with any of the network's other DC Comics superhero shows, but producers have had different answers at different times regarding whether such a story might be a possibility down the line.
During a visit to the set of Black Lightning yesterday, showrunner Salim Akil acknowledged that he knows fans want it, telling reporters that he hoped the network's passionate superhero audience would give the show a chance even though it wasn't part of the "Arrowverse." During a tour of the set, ComicBook.com asked whether he had, way in the back of his mind, given any consideration to what numerical designation his show's Earth might have.
"You know it," he said with a smile. "You know it. Yes."
Supergirl, for those who don't remember, began as a show that was nominally unrelated to the other CW superhero shows. It filmed in Los Angeles (versus Vancouver for the rest of the series) and aired on a different network altogether. Eventually, it was revealed that while Supergirl did not occupy the same space as the other heroes, her world (named Earth-38) was in fact one of the Earths in the multiverse previously discovered on The Flash. This has allowed the biggest crossover stories, like "Invasion!" and "Crisis on Earth-X," to include Supergirl.
Akil and his wife and executive producer Mara Brock Akil have suggested in the past that Black Lightning is a very different kind of show than the other Arrowverse series, and that it needed to establish itself, its world, and its characters before even thinking about a long-term relationship to any kind of shared multiverse. That mentality had not changed much when Akil, along with various stars from the series, spoke with reporters yesterday.
"It would be hard," series star Cress Williams told ComicBook.com. "The thing is, I don't know, I don't see the world where I would want to leave my community to help them, basically, we got our hands full. And I don't know if they would, they have very macro 'We gotta save the world' issues coming to us. And then there's also the logistical 'We should go to Atlanta, and we should go to Vancouver.'"
It may be quite some time before fans get to see any of the Jefferson family crossing over with the heroes of The CW's other shows, in other words -- if, indeed, it ever happens at all. Still, Williams told ComicBook.com that as his daughters and potentially others on the show begin to develop powers of their own, there is something in Black Lightning's decades-long publishing history that he would like to see the writers riff on.
"The thing that's gonna be really, really interesting at some point is that there will be, we will on some level be like a super hero team down the line," Williams said. "So it will be like our own little very small version of The Outsiders."
Black Lightning debuts on January 16 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.