Black Lightning, which debuts on The CW in two weeks, is a family series, with super-powers -- which makes some of what happens with China Anne McClain's Jennifer Pierce different than it would be on almost any other superhero show.
The idea that Black Lightning is a family drama first and a superhero show second is how the producers and cast sold the show during a recent visit to the set in Atlanta, and it is how the first two episodes (read our review here) play as well. For McClain, that meant a lot of soul-searching to determine just how Jennifer would feel when she began to develop super-powers...and realized that she and her sister had not been privy to a fairly major part of their father's life growing up.
"Parents aren't exactly supposed to keep secrets from their children....This should be an open environment where we can talk, and 'you guys always tell me talk to you about stuff, but this is something you kept from me,'" McClain told reporters in December. "Because the girls don't know that their father is Black Lightning. She's just like, 'what?!' She feels like her world has been turned upside down and there's some anger and some resentment there for sure."
As fans have already seen, not only will McClain's onscreen sister (Anissa, played by Nafessa Williams) develop powers pretty quickly, but she will suit up as a superhero before the end of the season as well.
"Well, Jennifer is young, she's a teenager, and for her getting her powers is very different than Anissa getting her powers for the first time," McClain said. "I've said that she's older, she's confident, she knows who she is at this point in her life and she's comfortable with that. Jennifer is still trying to figure that out. To have this happen to her is a huge deal, and she feels like an alien on Earth. It's difficult for her to deal with; it's going to be very interesting to see."
Black Lightning will have a red carpet premiere on Saturday in Washington, D.C. as part of the "DC in D.C." event. It will premiere on The CW next Tuesday, January 16, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.0comments