As The CW’s DCTV shows continue to kill it in the ratings, fans eagerly await the network’s newest addition: Black Lightning. A report from earlier this month confirmed that the series, which follows the brooding Jefferson Pierce as he struggles with fatherhood and superpowers, received a pilot order from The CW.
The pilot order brought with it news of the show’s development team, including The CW’s resident DCTV pioneer, Greg Berlanti. Husband and wife team Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil (The Game, Being Mary Jane) will act as the series’ showrunners and executive produce alongside Berlanti and Sarah Schechter (Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl). Aside from its key developers, little information is known about the burgeoning pilot — until now, with a report having revealed its director.
A report from Deadline revealed that co-showrunner Salim Akil will direct the Black Lightning pilot, which he will also co-write with his fellow showrunner, business partner, and wife, Mara Brock Akil. The CW acquired the pilot as a package project, with Salim Akil already attached as a director from the early stages.
Black Lightning co-creators Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil
The news of Akil’s director role comes in a report about lack of pilot season diversity, with Akil acting as a positive outlier. As a black director, Akil is one of just four non-white drama pilot directors, and his and his wife’s work on Black Lightning are sure to expand the racial diversity of The CW’s superhero landscape. Akil is a seasoned director with experience in both television (Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane) and film (Jumping the Broom, Sparkle).
The Akils and Black Lightning will bring some much-needed diversity to The CW, as the network’s pre-existing heroes (Kara Danvers, Barry Allen, Oliver Queen, and 4/5 of the Legends of Tomorrow) are all white. Though each show has a notably diverse supporting cast, it will be great to see a person of color (written and created by people of color) finally lead up a superhero show for the network. Netflix and Marvel’s Luke Cage saw overwhelming critical acclaim for its strong performances and reverent homage to black culture, so perhaps Black Lightning will go a similar route.
No matter what, this is one pilot we can’t wait to see, and news of an experienced director who’s so close to the project only makes us more excited for its premiere. Here’s hoping the series gets a full season order, and that we can get our hands on some casting news soon.
NEXT: Why Black Lightning Belongs in the Arrowverse
Keep it on Screen Rant for more Black Lightning news as the series develops.