We get it. The CW's newest superhero show, Black Lightning, is awesome. Its premiere came in as the strongest for the network in two years. It's so awesome that fans of the rest of The CW's superhero shows would really like to see the series join the Arrowverse and be a part of the epic annual crossover events.
While it would absolutely be amazing to see Black Lightning (Cress Williams) join forces with The Flash, Green Arrow, Supergirl, and the Legends even on a small scale, both the network and Black Lightning series creator and executive producer Salim Akil have said that the show is officially not part of the Arrowverse. However, despite this, fans have had some teases that seem to hint that the door could be open. First, a promo released by The CW ahead of the network's midseason premieres showed all of the Arrowverse heroes getting ready to go fight the bad guys, and, at the very end Black Lightning appears, commenting that no one had time to wait for the new guy. Second, even in the premiere episode, there was a comment about other heroes in other cities, so we know pretty definitively that Black Lightning isn't alone in his world.
But if Black Lightning were to join up with the Arrowverse, how would it happen? In comics, the character has ties to several major teams and heroes, particularly the Outsiders and Superman by way of being from Metropolis. So as we settle into Black Lightning's first season, we've got some ways the hero could join up with his Arrowverse counterparts, should that be in the cards.
A Crisis Event
In comics, whenever DC needs to bring its characters together there's a crisis event of some sort. Be it the landmark "Crisis on Infinite Earths" or "Infinite Crisis" -- a story arc that Black Lightning had a somewhat significant role in as one of the eight people Batman had considered to assist him in destroying the Brother Eye satellite -- a good old-fashioned crisis is a sure-fire way to draw the disparate multiverse together. If The CW wanted to bring Black Lightning into the Arrowverse, all it would really need to do is come up with a crisis event and use it as a chance for either Black Lightning to join up with the heroes or, if they wanted to keep the show largely separate, have the other heroes discover Black Lightning via a mention or even a Speed Force vision similar to the way Supergirl was revealed.
By mentioning the character as part of another world involved with a multiverse crisis instead of actually bringing him onto one of the Arrowverse shows -- or one of the Arrowverse heroes onto Black Lightning -- Black Lightning could be connected and still maintain enough of a distance to keep the show's very different issues separate from the less social issues-focused series.
And if they did decide to fully bring Black Lightning into the Arrowverse? We vote he's part of Earth-38. Supergirl needs some friends on her home Earth.
Legends of Tomorrow
With the heroes of Legends of Tomorrow hopping around time -- including alternative timelines and time streams -- another fairly simple way to bring Black Lightning into the Arrowverse would be through the Legends.
There are a few ways this could happen, but the most obvious one being that Black Lightning exists in a potential timeline, almost like a pocket universe. It would be fairly simple to have the Legends end up there as part of one of their missions to fix one of the many things they break in their adventures. After all, we've seen a possible future via the team's trip to a fairly dystopian Seattle where they pick up Zari. It's not completely ridiculous to think that, perhaps, the Freeland we see on Black Lightning is set in a time that leads up to the frightening future seen in 2042 and not a direct timeline corresponding to "our" 2017.
Bonus? Black Lightning's efforts in Freeland could even be part of what leads to anti-metahuman laws, especially since the show has already hinted at a racially unequal way heroes are looked at in Black Lightning's world.
Yes, Arrow name-dropped Bruce Wayne this season, but in comics Black Lightning has connections to Batman through the Outsiders. With Gotham not particularly being established other than a few mentions, Black Lightning could theoretically explore the city within the United States that Freeland exists in.
This could especially work well when you consider that Batman primarily deals with crime in his city, not unlike what Black Lightning is going after in his efforts against The 100 and Tobias Whale. Two heroes, both fighting corruption, crime, and gang activity... Batman would make sense as a hero who could be part of Black Lightning's world, one that could be shared with Arrow, giving a bit of connective tissue between the two shows. It would also give a more logical way for there to be interraction across the shows. Maybe one of Whale's associates is supplied out of Star City, possibly even by way of Gotham. After all, Star City has its share of crime and criminal organizations.
This would be another connection specific to Supergirl's Earth-38. We know that Superman, as well as Metropolis, exists on Earth-38. In the comics, Black Lightning/Jefferson Pierce is originally from Metropolis. He grew up in the Suicide Slum section of the city.
While Black Lightning sets Jefferson Pierce firmly in Freeland, it's not impossible that he could still originally be from Metropolis or have ties to the city through school. Using Metropolis and Superman as a touch point -- again, even if just a casual mention and not a full-on appearance or crossover -- would establish that yes, Pierce is part of that larger world, without having to sacrifice the show's larger story.
It's also worth noting that the connection doesn't have to be Black Lightning himself. In comics, Tobias Whale is the head of Metropolis' arm of The 100. Maybe that's where Whale's been hiding out, taking care of business outside of Freeland in part of the time prior to Black Lightning's setting.
Remember how, in the pilot of Black Lightning, there's a wanted poster for the vigilante hero in the police station? Well, that could be a way to connect the show to the Arrowverse.
In comics, Jefferson turns himself in for the death of Martin Somers, mistakenly believing it was his lightning that killed the corrupt businessman. It turned out later that it was Deathstroke who had actually killed Somers, but Pierce briefly did time in Iron Heights. As fans of The Flash know, Iron Heights is the name of the prison that Henry Allen served time in after being wrongly convicted of murder and is the same prison that Barry is serving time in now. It's also a prison that is equipped to deal with metahumans like Pierce meaning that should Black Lightning ever be apprehended and end up in prison, Iron Heights would be a good choice, tying the hero to The Flash and, thus, the Arrowverse.
When all else fails, there's always "Convergence".
For those not familiar, "Convergence" was a 2015 story arc that saw Brainiac collecting cities and people from various timelines that have come to an end, trapping them in domes on a planet outside time and space. Like a sick science experience, Brainiac exposes those domes to each other just to see what happens. Like "Infinite Crisis", "Convergence" was a crisis event itself with the heroes resolving to change the outcome of "Crisis on Infinite Earths". "Convergence" somewhat restored DC's classic multiverse. A year later, Rebirth brought characters not seen during the New 52 and "Convergence" back into continuity.
It's admittedly kind of complicated -- what reboot isn't? -- but the idea of Black Lightning being "restored" into the Arrowverse could make for an interesting way to bring the heroes together. It would also make for a very interesting crossover event, though it would likely require Black Lightning to change a bit in order to adapt to being part of the Arrowverse version of the multiverse, specifically with Black Lightning having to temporarily turn his attention away from his efforts to combat Tobias Whale.
Black Lightning Is Already Part of the Arrowverse
While thinking up ways for The CW to incorporate Black Lightning into the Arrowverse with name-drops, crossovers, guest appearances, and big plots is fun, the reality is that the network's DC Comics-inspired universe really is limitless. DC has a rich history of characters to draw from and, even in comics, all of those characters don't necessarily interact. Black Lightning doesn't have to be part of a crossover or even be mentioned to be part of the Arrowverse. It can just be there simply because, in the larger picture, the shows all share in DC's long history of heroes, villains, and epic stories.
At the end of the day. Jefferson Pierce doesn't need to hang out with Oliver Queen or know Joe West in order to be part of the bigger picture. He's a superpowered human being trying to do the right thing by looking out for his family, his friends, and his community, just like Green Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and the Legends are. And that's enough to make him part of the Arroweverse in our book.
Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.