Confirming what most people expected, we now know that the characters Thunder and Lightning will have superpowers on the upcoming CW series, Black Lightning.
Speaking about the show at the 2017 Essence Festival, Mara Brock Akil said, "His daughters will have powers. So, two young black girls are going to be in a superhero suit. The empowerment that we have to help, save, and be the hope in our own lives is what Black Lightning is all about.”
Anyone who saw the first trailer for the series would know that it very strongly suggested that the sisters would have powers.
Cress Williams plays the title role (real name Jefferson Pierce), while Nafessa Williams and China Anne McClain will play his daughters, Anissa and Jennifer Pierce - one a 20-something, passionate and quick-witted, who balances the demands of medical school with her job teaching part-time at her father’s school (Thunder); and the other is an independent, outspoken scholar-athlete with a wild streak of her own (Lightning).
Thunder and Lightning in the animated series.
Akil also said the series will center black men and black families in storytelling. "
“What we want to do is put black men and the black family back at the center. A lot of the other shows have been led through the view of black women, so it’s time to place the black male back and give him a voice at the table. We have to take back the image of black men raising their families.”
The CW's official description of the series reads: "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 daughters Anissa (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...or so 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."
According to DC Comics Universe lore, Black Lightning - created by Tony Isabella and Trevor von Eeden, first appearing in Black Lightning #1 (1977) - is a superhero with the ability to generate and control lightning. Originally he was a high school principal and Olympic-level athlete who became a vigilante to take down organized crime in Metropolis' Suicide Slum. Eventually, he would become a member of Batman's team of Outsiders for many years, although he retired briefly to become secretary of education underneath president Lex Luthor. Returning to crime-fighting, he has also been a member of the Justice League. His two daughters operate as the super-heroes Thunder and Lightning.
Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil will write and executive produce the series with Berlanti Prods.’ Greg Berlanti and Sarah Schechter, for Warner Bros. TV
The Black Lightning series has been in the works at Warner Bros. for over a year, going through different variations, because the TV studio wanted to make sure it got the character, his world, and the overall series right.
The show is set for a midseason premiere in 2018.