Marvin "Krondon" Jones III Explains Why 'Black Lightning' Is So Relevant Right Now

Marvin "Krondon" Jones III, a musician and actor whose personality in our interview was so irrepressibly friendly and positive that it was hard not to see leading-man charm, is coming to the small screen in a big way in two weeks.

Krondon to his many existing fans, he won't be playing a costumed hero in Black Lightning, though: he's the bad guy, and having seen the first two episodes? Doing a good, and sometimes downright scary, job of it.

"I wanted it to feel real, relatable, I wanted it to feel accessible," Krondon told during a recent interview on-set. "That you, as the viewer and a fan, you had access to Tobias Whale, the character. Even though he has to be formidable, I still want to be attainable for you. I still want it to feel like, okay, wait a minute, this guy might be next door. This guy might knock on my door, f--k around, you know what I mean?"

Krondon's Whale is not the massive, disfigured menace sometimes seen in the comics but rather a Godfather-like "businessman" villain whose sharp suits and eloquent speeches belie the violence and danger roiling beneath his surface. It is a take that feels very at home in a show that raises a lot of questions about black culture and black identity, since Krondon, the writers and producers, bring a very upper-crust feel to the villain and his environs.

"It is rooted in race as the world is now," Krondon explained. "I think that it's relatable to real life. Like, even though it's a universe or multiverse or whatever you want to call it, right? It's still very much so in today's time. It's dealing with the truths of today, whether you are a single mother, single father, student, gay or straight, black or white, dark or light, you know? It's dealing with the truths and the realities that you may deal with of substance in your own life. And now we're bringing them and bringing the situations to a head for the world to kinda deal with and hopefully have a great conversation about. That's what I'm hoping happens that there's a great conversation."

The series centers on a black superhero -- the first at DC to get his own solo ongoing series and now the first to do so as part of The CW's always-expanding DC Comics lineup. One of his two daughters is a lesbian, and the central antagonist -- Whale -- is an albino black man. While recent comics have removed that element of his character, the TV series has embraced it, providing another

"There's a great conversation about albinism and there's a great conversation about single fathers and there's a great conversation about," Krondon continued. "Gay women, all these things and I don't mean to say all these things in a hushed tone, but in our society these are things that you say like that. But now we're able to put them on primetime television. I'm so excited."

Black Lightning will premiere on January 16th at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW, following the midseason premiere of The Flash.