Black Lightning Showrunner Teases Arrival of Ishmael

Black Lightning's fourth and final season kicked off last week and revealed that, despite saving Freeland from the Markovians and the ASA's occupation, things aren't all good for Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning (Cress William). The hero is still reeling from the death of his best friend, Detective Henderson, as well as the trauma of everything else the Pierce family has been through. That trauma is set to be an important aspect of the season, but there are other threats that the Pierce family will face before the series ends. According to showrunner Salim Akil, Ishamel will make his arrival this season as well.

Speaking with SYFY, Akil said that the character will pop up before things are done to challenge the Pierce family.

"Ishmael is a new character that we're going to see, and he's from the comics," Akil said.

If fans are not familiar with Ishmael, that's because the character is fairly new. Created by Bryan Edward Hill and Dexter Soy, Ishmael debuted on the pages of Batman and the Outsiders Vol. 3 #1 in 2019. A man who was kidnapped and put in a program to create a personal army of metahumans, Ishmael gained superpowers as a result of the experimentation, the most interesting of which is the ability to leech the power of other metahumans. When the experiments caused Ishmael to start dying, Ra's al Ghul put him in a Lazarus Pit, giving him functional immortality. In the comics, Ishmael kills Black Lightning's friend and colleague Tina, a loss that hits Black Lightning particularly hard.

Akil didn't elaborate on how Ishmael will factor into the final season of Black Lightning but did note other characters who will be making appearances this season, including Grace (Chantal Thuy), T.C. (Christopher A'mmannuel), and Brandon (Jahking Guillory). He also suggested viewers might not have seen the last of Gravedigger. Akil had previously told Entertainment Weekly he's been trying to think of a way to bring the character, played by Wayne Brady, back for the final season.

Akil also said that there were characters that he did want to include, but never was able to get to, including Bumblebee.

"You know, I wanted to include Bumblebee, but didn't want to do it just to do it," Akil said. "I wanted to find the perfect storyline, but I never was able to get to it."

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Black Lightning airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

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