INTERVIEW: Black Lightning Writers Tease Upcoming Episodes

We spoke with Black Lightning creator Salim Akil at WonderCon over the weekend, as well as with his fellow writers Lamont Magee, Adam Giaudrone, and Pat Charles. Be sure to check out their thoughts on the Pierce family’s journey this year and the importance of black representation on television – not to mention the bare minimum of spoilers we could pry from their tighty sealed lips – before diving into tonight’s excellent installment of the series.

As the creator of the show, Salim Akil believes strongly in the theme of resurrection. “Resurrection just sort of means do you believe anything can happen,” he starts off. Even though characters like Tobias dismiss the concept at first, Akil sees himself as a living resurrection due to having made it as far as he has. “You’re looking at somebody who is the resurrection, for me to be sitting here with you guys talking about a show that I’m doing. I’m a walking miracle.” He weaves those those themes subtly and overtly into the show, and so far they’ve been worked in beautifully.

And it’s not just Jefferson who embodies that theme of resurrection, seeing as now Anissa and Jennifer are being reborn into their superhero selves with hopefully a lot of room to grow. “I’m excited about these young women having powers, and what they’re going to do with them.” This is especially true when it comes to Jennifer, whose reluctance to have powers is quite a major part of the next few episodes. “Their powers are almost like being drafted [into the military],” Akil explains. “And she doesn’t want to be drafted.”

Writer Adam Giaudrone lets us know right off the bat that the surprising reveal at the end of tonight’s episode (you’ll know when you see it!) will change Jefferson’s daily life. “It’s gonna have an impact on him moving forward because his two worlds are crossing.” From this point forward, the Garfield High principal and the Freeland vigilante will begin merging more and more. As for Tobias’ whereabouts in the wake of all these shakeups? “His return is going to be built off [his sister’s death], and there’s surprises to be had.”

Tobias isn’t the only one who’s been missed as of late, and Giaudrone touches on why fans may have to wait a little longer to see Grace Choi again. “The Pierce family is at the heart of [Black Lightning]. We want to get to know them as a family, we want to get to know Anissa as an individual… We’ve seen what would traditionally be the superhero arc through her.” That being said, he promises, “Grace is a very important part of the comic book world of Anissa and Thunder, and we are very aware of that.”

Lamont Magee, meanwhile, shares that we’ll see how Lala came back from the dead “fairly soon.” So if you want answers on his resurrection, make sure you stick around for episodes 12 and 13! He’s not the biggest problem to deal with, though – that mantle rests squarely on the ASA’s shoulders. “The ASA is the big bad, and you will learn a lot very soon.” Other characters who have been pawns in the various schemes and plans, such as Khalil, may be making future appearances as well. “Just remember all the people you’ve seen,” Magee warns. “Because they may or may not be coming back.”

What else can we look forward to this season? Tobias’ return for sure, but more importantly the Pierce family dynamics and their response to their powers. “In my mind, I feel like Jefferson’s a lot more like Jennifer when he was younger,” Magee says. “He grew up, and Anissa’s following the guy that he became. But when he’s Black Lightning, he’s a lot more like Jennifer is.”

Finally, Pat Charles tells fans that “the emergence of Jennifer is going to be a big thing, and the family working together to accept their new reality.” Despite how different her attitude to her powers is, she’s on a journey of her own and her family will be there to help no matter how complicated it gets. Speaking of complications, Charles also teases that we will delve into why Jefferson and Lynn never got back together. “Like any relationship, you think you know the reason why you break up or stay together. And a lot of times, it’s not what you think it is.”

At the end of the day, the most important aspects of Black Lightning in his eyes are, “Jefferson as a teacher and as a superhero, as a family person, and the love in the community.” There’s no doubt that Akil and his team of writers have translated those themes into the show quite masterfully.

Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on the CW, so don’t miss tonight’s all-new episode!