‘Black Lightning’ Executive Producer Explains Why Newest CW Superhero Isn’t Part of the Arrowverse

TCA 2018: “I say this with all due respect, but they’re not really relevant to the show that we’re doing,” Salim Akil says

Last Updated: January 7, 2018 @ 10:37 AM

When The CW ordered its fifth DC superhero series, “Black Lightning,” back in May, fans were surprised to learn that there were no plans to connect it to the rest of the network’s so-called “Arrowverse.”

Launched with “Arrow” and later expanded to include “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” and “Supergirl,” the network has built a network of DC shows that all interconnect, culminating in a multi-part four-way crossover last fall. “Black Lightning,” though, will stand alone.

“I say this with all due respect, but they’re not really relevant to the show that we’re doing,” executive producer Salim Akil explained at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday. “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.”

Akil and wife/producing partner Mara Brock Akil were not shy in their praise for WB and The CW, saying that they had the full support of the studio and network to realize their full vision for the show uncontested.

“Oftentimes there’s so many reports about studios and networks, and I just want to say again that what you see is a direct result of people supporting us in this,” Akil said. “This idea of why they’re not in this universe or why they’re not in the ‘Justice League’ is because … [we were told] ‘You’ve got to do this the way you want to do this. You’re going to live and die by that, and we support you.’ That’s what you’re seeing.”

“Black Lightning” premieres Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 9 p.m.