Black Lightning Comic-Con Panel: Few Details but Lots of Love

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BY September 3, 2019

After two stellar seasons, the Black Lightning Comic-Con panel took the stage in San Diego to tease what’s to come in season three. Stars Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, Cristine Adams, and Jordan Calloway all showed up to represent for the heroes of Freeland. Along with the cast, they brought a more than five-minute-long sizzle reel that highlights what happened last season and what awaits the next. The series only just started production, so the details on what to expect were scant. However, they did reveal that the fictional country of Markovia—and the army of metahumans they have waiting to be unleashed on the world—will play a big role. Though, the cast joked those villains should come to them because Markovia “is too cold.” Yet, for this show, the plot details take a backseat to what fans love about Black Lightning: the characters.

A Family Drama (with Crazy Metahuman Powers)

In response to a question, the cast all agreed that this series is a family drama at heart. Take away the superpowers, and what’s left doesn’t look much different. It’s a story about two parents whose work drove apart their relationship. They still remain close for their children’s sake, but those kids are growing into adults with their own agendas and problems. Even the villains have a very personal connection to the heroes, which creates better drama than simple superhero punch-em-ups. Of course, this is the Black Lightning Comic-Con panel, so it’s not all about emotional drama. This is a show with superpowers and supervillains, which adds an incredible extra layer of drama on it all.

There are themes super-fans are familiar with, such as the realization Williams’ Jefferson Pierce has that he can’t save everyone. There are the stories about his kids, one who embraces her superpowers and fighting crime and another who wants nothing to do with it. Yet, unique to this series because of the racial demographics of the cast, is how they can address social issues. Comic book stories have long been a place for that, and Black Lightning is a vigilante who stops criminals and overzealous police. This allows the series to examine these very real-world issues with the added element of a fantastic hero who is out there fighting for truth, justice, and (what should be) the American way.

Will Black Lightning Finally Join the Arrowverse?

The cast and crew of the show may be keeping story details close to their chests, but the Black Lightning Comic-Con panel addressed one of the biggest questions of all. Will Black Lightning finally join the larger Arrowverse? It always seemed strange that this series was, forgive the term, segregated from the rest of CW’s superhero shows. Though, this decision came from the storytellers. They wanted Black Lightning to carve out its own space first. As the first CW superhero show with a majority black cast, the series had to find its voice and address issues specific to that experience. As fans saw with Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage series, a superhero with dark skin facing off against criminals and cops carries different social connotations than others. In season three, or beyond, Black Lightning is a force in his own right and ready to join the larger super-world.

Now, like Arrow and Flash, Black Lightning has close ties to the police in Freeland and the shadowy government organization behind metahumans in its world. So, Cress Williams believes that the time is almost here when Black Lightning is ready to meet his fellow heroes. There is nothing official yet, so this likely means that Black Lightning won’t play a role in Crisis on Infinite Earths. While this is a huge missed opportunity, there is “talk” behind-the-scenes of how future crossovers might happen. When asked which heroes they want to team up with, they said they think Supergirl should come to town “soon.”  

Featured image via CW

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Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.

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