Black Superhero Drama From Greg Berlanti, Salim and Mara Brock Akil in the Works

Black Lightning - DC Comics - Publicity - H 2016
Courtesy of DC Comics

DC Comics guru Greg Berlanti is teaming with The Game's Salim and Mara Brock Akil for a potentially ground-breaking superhero drama.

The Arrow/Flash/Supergirl/Legends of Tomorrow exec producer is working with the Akils to develop Black Lightning, a drama about one of DC Comics' first major African-American superheroes. (The character debuted in 1977 and was created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden.)

A network is not yet attached, but the drama is being pitched to networks this development season after being in the works at Warner Bros. Television, where the Akils and Berlanti are under rich overall deals.

Here's the official logline: Jefferson Pierce made his choice: He hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago, but with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend — Black Lightning.

In the comics, Pierce has two daughters who both became superheroes: Anissa Pierce (aka Thunder), a member of the Outsiders; and Jennifer Pierce (aka Lightning), who is recruited by the Justice Society of America.

The Akils (Being Mary Jane) will pen the script and exec produce alongside Greg Berlanti Productions' Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.

Should Black Lightning move to series at a broadcast network, the drama would be the first to feature an African-American superhero as its lead. Netflix, of course, has Marvel drama Luke Cage due this month. 

For Berlanti, Black Lightning marks his latest DC Comics-inspired drama. In addition to Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow, he has Archie Comics take Riverdale — also based on the DC characters — due to join his super slate at The CW. Black Lightning also marks Berlanti's latest sale this development season, where he's reteaming with Blindspot creator Martin Gero for Criminal at ABC and Raised by Wolves with Diablo Cody, also at ABC. The Akils, in their first year with WBTV, also have Documenting Love at ABC.