No, Black Lightning Still Isn't a Part of the Arrowerse

Cress Williams as Black Lightning.
Cress Williams as Black Lightning.
Photo: CW

It’s easy to understand why fans of the Arrowverse want to see the CW’s newest team of live-action DC superheroes team up with Teams Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. But sorry, folks, because the fact of the matter is that Black Lightning is really, really, really set in its own universe.

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Though Black Lightning’s dropped plenty of references to certain Arrowverse heroes and hinted at the potential existence of even more classic characters from DC’s comics, executive producer Salim Akil has been telling people (for months at this point) that the show is doing its own thing. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly ahead the show’s season finale tonight, Akil reiterated his point by stating in clear words that Black Lightning exists in its own world. He added that while there’s still the possibility for crossovers in the future, the point of all this season’s Easter eggs (if you can really call them that) were made purely for the sake of fun:

“We’re not in the Arrowverse. We’re not in the Supergirl universe. We’re in the Black Lightning universe. If there’s ever a crossover, Supergirl will come to Freeland, or Green Arrow will come to Freeland. I thought it was just fun to tease the fans and have fun with the fans. We’re always trying to have a conversation with the fans and we’re also trying to have fun with them, so that was part of that.”

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At first, it definitely seemed like keeping Black Lightning separate from the other CW cape dramas was a mistake that had the potential to hurt the show’s ability to fit into the network’s already crowded superhero space. But as time has gone on, Black Lightning’s really revealed itself to be a deeply different show than its peers in almost every way. Tonally and thematically-speaking, Black Lightning’s characters are working on another level that would require some significant recalibration if they were to suddenly pop up in world filled with aliens, time travelers, and magic. It’s possible Jefferson and the crew are going to meet the rest of their super friends at some point, but for the time being, everybody needs to just chill and let Black Lightning handle its business on its own.

[Entertainment Weekly]

io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

This is exactly how I felt about Black Lightning. It seemed so awkward that the first black superhero was also the only one being left out of the crossover fun (they even did that commercial where he was, like, trapped in a locker? Or something?). But as soon as the pilot started, it was clear that BL would have to drop wayyyy down to be on the same level as the other shows. I just can’t see Jefferson existing in the same universe where a time-traveling assassin and her team of misfits transform into a giant Tickle-Me-Knockoff to take out a demon (even though, in the context of what Legends is, THAT WAS AWESOME).