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Cress Williams Cast in Lead Role of CW’s ‘Black Lightning’ Pilot

Greg Berlanti will executive produce new superhero series

Cress Williams has landed the title role of the CW pilot “Black Lightning,” TheWrap has confirmed.

Based on the comics of the same name, the series will follow Jefferson Pierce (Williams), who hung up the suit and his secret identity years ago. But with a daughter hell-bent on justice and a star student being recruited by a local gang, he’ll be pulled back into the fight as the wanted vigilante and DC legend — Black Lightning.

Created by writer Tony Isabella and artist Trevor Von Eeden, Pierce is one of the first major African American superheroes to appear in DC Comics. The character debuted in 1977 in a self-titled series that ran for 11 issues.

Williams is known for his role as Lavon Hayes on the CW show “Hart of Dixie.” He also recently appeared on CBS’ “Code Black” and portrayed Ornette Howard on NBC’s “Friday Night Lights.” He is represented by APA and Sinclair Entertainment Group.

The husband-and-wife team of Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil are writing the pilot, which comes from Warner Bros. TV and will be executive produced by the Akils along with Berlanti and Sarah Schechter.

Berlanti is also the executive producer of four DC comic book adaptation series on The CW, “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “Legends of Tomorrow” and “Supergirl,” though it’s unclear at this point if “Black Lightning” would join the so-called “Arrowverse” or exist in its own world.