'Black Lightning' Unveiled: Cress Williams Suits Up in First Photo

Laura Jean Shannon ('Iron Man') designed the updated superhero suit.
Ray Tamarra/Getty Images
'Black Lightning'; Cress Williams

Black Lightning is ready to spring into action for The CW.

Warner Bros. TV on Wednesday unveiled the first look at Cress Williams in costume for his superhero alter ego for the TV pilot of the same name.

Based on the DC Comics character, Black Lightning centers on Jefferson Pierce, a former superhero who hung up his suit and secret identity. However, he is pulled back into the fight when one daughter becomes hell-bent on justice and the other, a star student, who is recruited by a local gang.

The character dates back to 1977 and is largely considered the first African-American superhero.

The updated suit hails from longtime costume designer Laura Jean Shannon, whose other credits include other superhero fare such as Iron Man and Blade: Trinity, as well as the upcoming Jumanji reboot. 

Executive producer/writer/director Sam Akil praised Shannon's updated take on Black Lightning's ensemble. “I was about 13 when Black Lightning was created, and finally there was a black superhero that gave a damn about our neighborhood and our lives," he said. “Resurrecting him at a time in our society when a sense of hope is lacking ... Black Lightning will be that hope. And in updating the suit, it will signal to a new generation that it’s time to harness and release our power, and become our own superheroes.”

The reveal comes as production is underway on the Black Lightning pilot in Atlanta. From Akil and his wife and producing partner Mara Brock Akil (The Game, Being Mary Jane), Black Lightning also counts Arrow-verse grad Greg Berlanti and his producing partner Sarah Schechter as executive producers. Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions will produce in association with Warner Bros. Television, which is home to the many other DC Comics-inspired series currently on the air, including Fox's Gotham and Lucifer as well as NBC's Powerless.

Originally set up at Fox, the Black Lightning pilot moved to The CW in February. If picked up to series, it would become the network's fifth superhero series, joining Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and DC's Legends of Tomorrow.

 

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