WATCH: Black Lightning cast on pulling source material from the comics

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Jan 15, 2018, 4:30 PM EST

The brainchild of Salim Akil, Mara Brock Akil, and Greg Berlanti (the Master of the Universe Arrowverse), The CW's hotly anticipated new superhero TV series Black Lightning is finally premiering tomorrow following The Flash's midseason return.

Ahead of the show's Tuesday night debut, SYFY WIRE's Tara Bennett sat down with stars Cress Williams (Jefferson Pierce), James Remar (Peter Gambi), Nafessa Williams (Anissa Pierce), China Anne McClain (Jennifer Pierce), and Christine Adams (Lynn Pierce) to talk about the Arrowverse-adjacent show.

Even though the new DC TV series will feature a different storyline than the ones found in the comic books, the actors revealed what they pulled from the pages of the DC comics to integrate into their interpretations of the characters.


"Even from the '70s and each iteration," Williams told us, "I kind of deduced that the world that we created in the story we're telling is kind of an amalgamation. I could see the influences of all three. But I was really struck by, I think, in the '70s version there was an issue where there's a slumlord who is taking illegal immigrants and promising them work and pay and payment and then is not doing that. And it was an issue that was written in the '70s and I was like 'This could be today.' So it informed me. Like I already knew it from our pilot episode, but the show, or the origin of the comic book, is rooted in social activism, and so it was 'Of course, this is what we need to be.'"

The actor (along with Remar) then went on to discuss Pierce's relationship with Gambi in the comics before concluding, "I just got a little bit from all the versions and saw the fact that 'Okay, the story we're telling is a mixture of all of those.'"

Watch the video above for Nafessa Williams' and McClain's thoughts on what they brought from the comics (as well as the Internet and some cute little animated shorts) to their respective Black Lightning characters and more.

Black Lightning premieres on January 16 at 9 p.m. on The CW.

Additional material by Nathalie Caron.