The CW finally introduced its newest superhero series last night with the premiere of Black Lightning. The excellent pilot kicked off the show’s 13-episode season in style by setting Twitter ablaze with excitement and receiving positive reviews from critics (the show is currently certified 100 percent fresh on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes). It also seemingly confirmed that Black Lightning may indeed be set in the Arrowverse after all, as per this quote from a newscaster in the background in the pilot episode show:
“That’s a curious question. Why is he a vigilante, but other communities have folks with superpowers and all of a sudden they’re heroes. This shows you how in this country, for nearly 400 years, there’s a double standard when it comes to us.”
This was said by real-life TV presenter Roland Martin on the CW series during a news broadcast (you can see it at the 20:52 mark during the episode) about Freeland’s vigilante hero Black Lightning (played by Cress Williams). It’s a bit of an easter egg to be sure, but it does confirm that there are at least other superheroes out there in the world titular hero Jefferson Pierce and his family inhabits.
Days ago, during the recent Television Critics’ Association Winter press tour (via CBR), Salim Akil noted Black Lightning is its own thing, saying “I say this with all due respect, but [the Arrowverse shows are] not really relevant to the show that we’re doing. The great thing that Warner Bros. and CW allowed us to do was create our own world. We really wanted folk to get to know this family before we started branching out.”
The show’s official Arrowverse status has always been kept nebulous by those involved in the production since it was picked up by The CW: from network boss Mark Pedowitz, to show creators Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil, and Greg Berlanti. Still, the electrifying superhero series has been hinted at being at least Arrowverse-adjacent. If not the same world, there's a possibility the series could be set on an alternate piece of the multiverse like Supergirl.
Meaning? There's still hope that Jefferson Pierce could end up rubbing elbows with the likes of Barry Allen (Grant Gustin), Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell), Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), or the Legends at some point in the future. But for now, fans seem to be happy to enjoy Jefferson's small-scale adventure.