Last month, The CW announced that characters from Black Lightning will appear in this winter’s Arrowverse crossover, “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” which will unfold across Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman. It’s a move that’s been a long time coming, especially for Williams.
“I was excited [when it was announced], but not, I’d say, surprised because the fans have been wanting this since they announced that we were a show,” Williams, who plays Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, tells EW. “They were already like, ‘Are you going to be in the crossover? When are you gonna be in the crossover?’ They always wanted it from day one.”
Even though Black Lightning and the rest of the Arrowverse dramas are all executive produced by Greg Berlanti, the former has remained separate from its caped-cohorts since it premiered in 2017 (“We are in our own world,” Black Lightning creator Salim Akil told EW in season 1. “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.”) At San Diego Comic-Con in July, though, Williams told fans that he’d heard “lots of talk” about a potential crossover, but there wasn’t anything official at the time. Those whispers apparently crescendoed after the big fan event.
“The unofficial rumblings behind the scenes had been just growing. It got to the point, especially after Comic-Con, that I would’ve been more shocked if [they said], “No, this is never going to happen,” he says.
Williams is particularly looking forward to working with and seeing the CW’s other superheroes, because they rarely get a chance to since Black Lightning films in Atlanta while the other five shows shoot in Vancouver.
“We feel isolated a bit being in Atlanta, but I socialize with a lot of the other shows when we’re doing press together. They all are really cool people, so I’m excited to play with them,” he says. Which actor is he particularly excited about sharing the screen with? “It sounds like the politically correct answer, but it’s not: It’s all of them,” he says. “I feel like being Black Lightning and Stephen Amell’s Arrow character, they have that kind of vigilante quality that’s similar and a grittiness that’s similar. That will be a lot of fun. But I’ve interacted with The Flash cast quite a bit just in random places, and I really enjoy being around them. I’m just starting to get to know [Supergirl’s] Melissa [Benoist]. She’s legitimately one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I really look forward to playing with all of them and acting alongside all of them, and swapping stories with all of them. I think it’ll be really fun.”
Before “Crisis” hits, though, Jefferson will have his hands full with a brewing metahuman war with Markovia, which is being fought in Freeland and has created problems for the Pierce family. “The family is probably the most disjointed we’ve ever had it,” said Williams. “It’s the whole Markovian conflict. It’s pulled everyone in different directions because they’ve gotten a little bit divided, in the sense there are just different focuses that they have and different motivations that they have.”
Black Lightning premieres Monday, Oct. 7 at 9 p.m. on The CW.