The Black Lightning panel began with a sizzle reel showing clips from the newest DC Comics series on the CW.
Eric Deggans from NPR introduced showrunners Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil as well as stars Christine Adams, Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams and China Anne McClain.
Cress Williams spoke about playing villainous roles in his past and remarked he's finally happy to be a hero.
Akil said James Remar from Dexter is joining the cast, while talking about how important the show will be for the future.
Brock Akil said the show will reflect the real world as it shows Black Lightning and eventually Thunder and Lightning in their fight to protect their city.
The Panel Begins
"The biggest challenge was accepting this guy was running around in a suit," Akil said. "That's the easiest way to get shot by the police." He added that balancing when the character balances his powers and why will be an interesting point in the series.
Akil said they will eventually address the problem of black people getting murdered by police, but they will also address the problem of black people killing each other. They want to address the true-to-life problems all black people face.
McClain and Nafessa Williams spoke about their characters growing up and struggling to deal with their powers.
Akil said the grounded aspects of Jefferson Pierce's character made sense to adapt as a television show. "I'm not afraid to talk about the things we need to talk about," Akil said, adding that he wants to add to the conversation and embrace black culture in a way no other superhero shows have so far. "I also think we are going to be giving something back to the American culture."
He added that he dressed like Batman even though they didn't look alike, but he accepted him as a hero. Akil expects to see kids dress up as Black Lightning next year at Halloween. He wants to give everyone an opportunity to find a hero they can identify with.
Black Lightning will air on The CW in 2018.
Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is a man wrestling with a secret. As the father of two daughters and principal of a charter high school that also serves as a safe haven for young people in a New Orleans neighborhood overrun by gang violence, he is a hero to his community. Nine years ago, Pierce was a hero of a different sort. Gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, he used those powers to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life on the line, and seeing the effects of the damage and loss that his alter ego was inflicting on his family, he left his Super Hero days behind and settled into being a principal and a dad.
Choosing to help his city without using his superpowers, he watched his daughtersAnissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) grow into strong young women, even though his marriage to their mother, Lynn (Christine Adams), suffered. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…orso he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, and those he cares about in the crosshairs of the menacing local gang The One Hundred, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.