Black Lightning Stars Explain Why the Series Speaks to Fans

Black Lightning is, in many ways, unique among superhero television shows. Not only does it have [...]

Black Lightning is, in many ways, unique among superhero television shows. Not only does it have something of special place in the Arrowverse -- Black Lightning only officially became part of Earth-Prime as a result of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" -- but as a series centered around Black heroes, The CW series also takes on issues and experiences that go well beyond the standard comic book villain fare and instead reflect the real world. For the cast of the series, it's that real-world element that really speaks to fans.

During Black Lightning's panel during Saturday's DC FanDome event, the cast was asked why people love the show so much and, for Tobias Whale actor Marvin "Krondon" Jones III, it all comes down to "truth to power".

"It's truth to power, our meaning, the state of our government even though we're in a fictitious world, I think it aligns a lot of times with the current," Jones said. "And it speaks to the people who are actually living that, the people in the black communities, see a lot that that's the truth of our experience and it's done in such a way that's fantabulous, if that's even a word, and it, I think it resonates, not just with our community, but with every community because it has such dignity and integrity."

China Anne McClain, who plays Jennifer Pierce/Lightning in the series, said that audiences also had a unique opportunity to learn about the Black experience through the show.

"Also, it's a good time for a lot of people to learn about our experience," she said.

Black Lightning has never shied away from all aspects of the experience, either. While at its core Black Lightning is a show about family, as seen with the titular hero and both of his daughters suiting up alongside him, even in the very first episode the series touched on real challenges Black Americans face -- with a tense traffic stop inspired by showrunner Salim Akil's own experiences.

"That actually came from a moment in my life, where I was in Santa Monica and I got pulled over," Akil told during Season 1. "I had been pulled over quite a bit by police officers, especially in Santa Monica and Culver City. This night, I had been working hard and it was late and I was still headed to my office to work some more and I got pulled over, and I started to drop the mask of 'This is the way I was supposed to act' I'm supposed to be safe,' and I started talking back and arguing, and they started arguing and I had a moment. I had to close my eyes and ask myself, 'Is this worth dying for?' and then when I opened them, I just took a breath and I'm still alive."

And it's the "reality" of some of what Black Lighting presents that Gambi actor James Remar noted during Saturday's panel.

"This show, out of the superhero shows, it feels real," he said.

It's a reality that extends to real choices as well.

"We provide that hope, not just through superheroes saving the day, but also making difficult choices that are morally correct choices," Khalil actor Jordan Calloway added.

Black Lightning Season 4 is set to debut in 2021.