Despite the titular character making an appearance in The CW's "Suit Up" trailer, Black Lightning isn't set to be part of the network's popular Arrowverse of DC Comics superhero shows. Now, network president Mark Pedowitz reveals that the show was never designed to be.
In an interview with Black Girl Nerds following the network's Television Critics Association winter press tour presentation, Pedowitz opened up that he's long wanted to work with Black Lightning series creators Mara and Salim Akil and that when the opportunity for Black Lightning arose, he couldn't pass it up. But he also explained that the series had originally been created for Fox, not The CW.
"I've wanted to be in business with them for many, many, many years," Pedowitz said, "It stems back to my days at ABC Studios. With Black Lightning, Fox had the pilot and they passed on it. So, Salim and Mara came in and said this is what we have. It was different from all of our other superhero shows and it was never designed to be a part of the Arrowverse."
This explanation provides a little more clarity as to why the show, which centers around the DC Comics hero Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress Williams,) isn't connected to The CW's other superhero shows which are also based on DC Comics characters especially when Black Lightning has ties to heroes such as Green Arrow in comics. While we've been told from the beginning that Black Lightning was set to be a show all its own, the most frequent explanation for it has been that the network and the creators wanted the show to have a chance to develop its own place on the network.
That is a sentiment that Salim Akil himself shared when speaking with The Wrap during the TCA press tour earlier this week.
"I say this with all due respect, but they're not really relevant to the show that we're doing," Akil said of the Arrowverse. "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."
However, just because Black Lightning wasn't designed to fit within the Arrowverse, doesn't mean that it couldn't still find a place there. The extended "Suit Up" trailer the network released earlier this week gave a tantalizing look at what a it might look like to bring all of the heroes -- including the "new guy" -- together. It's also something that Akil himself has admitted that he's considered. When ComicBook.com asked Akil during a recent set visit if he'd thought about what Earth Black Lightning might take place on -- all of the Arrowverse shows except Supergirl take place on Earth-1 with the Girl of Steel hailing from Earth-38 -- Akil confirmed that he had.
"You know it," he said. "You know it. Yes."
Black Lightning premieres Tuesday, January 16th at 9/8c on The CW.