Black Lightning Showrunners Give Up Some Goodies At ATX Fest

As the newest addition to the DC/CW Universe, Back Lightning will not premiere until midway of the 2017-2018 season, but that did not stop the executive producers, Salim Akil and Mara Brock-Akil,  from giving fans a few secrets into what the show is about, and how it will differ from the rest of the DC shows on the network. Below, International Business Times, was there, and here are a few highlights from their panel at the Austin, TX festival last Sunday (06/11/17):

Mara Brock-Akil and Salim Akil

About The Villains:

“It’s a character driven show. I don’t know if there’s going to be a fight every week,” Salim said. “There’s certainly not going to be a villain of the week. I don’t want to do that. We really want to explore the characters, even the villains. I think one of the most interesting characters right now from a storytelling standpoint is Tobias (presumably Tobias Whale, who was introduced in the first “Black Lightning” comic).. Because we’re not having him sort of twist his mustache. His hatred for himself and for others comes from a real place, so we want to know why he’s like that.”


Jefferson The Protector:

“That image of a father saving his daughters, protecting his family, protecting his school, protecting his community, it is happening, but it’s not the narrative [like on most shows and movies],” Mara said.


LGBTQ Representation:

“You’ll definitely see that [LGBTQ] aspect of society,” Salim confirmed after an audience member asked about representation. “You know, I grew up, I had three uncles and … I loved Uncle Donald because he gave me dating advice and I was like 5,” Salim explained. “But the other thing that I found fascinating about my Uncle Donald is he dressed up like a woman. And so I grew up around all of these men who dressed like women, so when I hear that, I don’t hear a cause. I hear my family.”


Outside The Arrow-verse:

The showrunners sought to make a new ecosphere, but they aren’t totally eliminating the idea of crossovers with the other shows.

The storytelling is a little bit more political. It’s topical, and it’s a little grittier. … It doesn’t mean that down the road there won’t be visits,” Salim teased.


The Police:

“When we talk about social justice, I don’t only want to talk about police brutality, which is a hot topic. It should be talked about, and this may be somewhat controversial for me to say, if we stop killing each other, you know what I mean?” Salim said. “I think that issue right now is way more important to me personally, to stop young black people from killing young black people. Stop young people in general from killing each other.”


Anissa’s Powers:

Anissa, meanwhile, will be attending protests as a young adult seeking a way to create change. However, her powers will suddenly make that more difficult. “What happens when she’s in a protest and she gets pushed?” Salim asked. “What happens if someone tries to harm her and she has these powers? Does a peaceful protest become a violent protest? Does she become violent?”


Of course, my favorite highlight was whether Static will show up on the show

Static Shock:

It doesn’t sound like there are plans to include Black Lightning/Jefferson Pierce meeting Static Shock/Virgil Hawkins yet, but that could change. “I love the idea of Static Shock, and in success, hopefully, we’ll be able to pull other characters in in that way,” Salim said. “So, I’m holding out hope because I love that character.”


Black Lightning will premiere during the 2017-2018 midseason on the CW