Thirty years after being cast as The Flash on the short-lived CBS TV series of the same name, John Wesley Shipp saw that character make a noble sacrifice in "Crisis on Infinite Earths," sacrificing himself to destroy the Anti-Monitor's weapon of multiversal destruction and prevent the end of the universe as we knew it. It brought a sense of closure to a character beloved by a generation of fans, whose show had been cut short by a high budget and middling ratings in a time long before superhero TV had become a normal part of our everyday pop culture existence.
In the moments before sacrificing himself in "Crisis on Infinite Earths," Shipp's Barry Allen -- the Flash of Earth-90 -- had a brief but heartfelt interaction with Black Lightning (Cress Williams), telling the younger man that he was a true hero. Shipp said that working with Cress Williams was a highlight of appearing in the latest Arrowverse crossover, and that some unused or archival footage of the pair might end up on a future episode of Black Lightning.
"I was so honored. One of the things that delighted me the most about this script was that I got to do a moment with Cress, and I told him that," Shipp recently told Comic Book Central. "I loved that this character from 1990 who had been around forever got to go to him and -- not that he needs any further hero endowment -- got to endow him further with heroism by saying, 'you're a real hero.' ...I'm so glad that they gave me that job, because I think the world of him and as I understand it -- I don't know if I'm supposed to say it, but they asked me if they could use footage of me and Cress. You may be seeing Flash-90 pop up on Black Lightning."
At the end of "Crisis on Infinite Earths," the world that Black Lightning took place on had been merged with Earth-1 (home of Arrow, The Flash, Batwoman, and DC's Legends of Tomorrow) and Earth-38 (home of Supergirl) to create Earth Prime. Unlike the end of the "Crisis" comics, the world our heroes inhabit is not the only Earth in the multiverse -- we got to see several DC Universe shows had their own Earths, for instance, and that Brandon Routh's Superman had been restored to his world.
For Jefferson Pierce, though, he and his loved ones will be struggling to learn that the comic book heroes his daughters grew up reading about are suddenly real. And that explanation might take a little bit of flashback -- no pun intended.
Black Lightning returns from its winter hiatus on Monday at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.
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