The CW's Black Lightning not part of Arrowverse, crossover unlikely

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Now that Black Lightning has been added to The CW’s superhero roster, will the network aim for a five-way crossover with Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow next season?

Sorry to say, but it’s looking unlikely that the network will try to top last season’s epic Invasion crossover. CW chief Mark Pedowitz revealed to reporters on Thursday morning ahead of the network’s upfront presentation that Black Lightning does not take place in the Arrowverse — the same shared universe that the other four series call home. Couple that with the fact that Black Lightning films in Atlanta, while the rest of the shows film in Vancouver, and it’s basically a logistical nightmare. Black Lightning is also slated to debut in midseason, not in the fall.

“We do not aim to do a five-way crossover,” Pedowitz said. “Black Lightning, at this time, is not part of the Arrowverse. It is a separate situation. But there will be a big fourth quarter crossover with all four of the shows that are on in the fall.”

That premise could certainly change over the shelf life of these series. After all, the multi-verse is very much a concept that exists — Supergirl takes place on Earth-38, while Arrow, The Flash, and Legends of Tomorrow hail from Earth-1. So it’s not out of the realm of possibility that executive producer Greg Berlanti could change the rules down the line.

Executive producer Andrew Kreisberg had previously told reporters that the shows were planning for a true four-way crossover next season. Save for a brief epilogue scene during Supergirl’s winter finale, the Invasion action was mainly featured on The Flash, Arrow, and Legends, making it a four-way crossover on three shows. “Next year, we’re hoping to do a true four-way crossover,” Kreisberg said. “The great thing about our dear friends at the CW and Mark Pedowitz picking the shows up as early as they did has allowed us to start building the schedules for next season.”

It’s also unlikely you’ll ever see these five shows on at the same time. “We believe we have the best superhero programming around anywhere,” Pedowitz told reporters. “Our belief is that we will never have more than four DC shows [on] at a time, as far as that goes, so we’ll always have a rotation of some sort.” Even so, Pedowitz sees a long future ahead for the ever-expanding superhero genre. “This programming will last as long as people want to watch it, as long as we have quality programs, which we have thanks for Greg Berlanti, and soon Greg Berlanti, Salim and Mara Brock Akil. We’re going to have something very unique in Black Lightning. But [superhero programming will] last as long as people want to watch it. It’s lasted my whole lifetime, so it’ll keep going.”

In other CW news, the network released an extended logline for Black Lightning while announcing its new fall schedule on Thursday:

“Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is a man wrestling with a secret. As the father of two daughters and principal of a charter high school that also serves as a safe haven for young people in a New Orleans neighborhood overrun by gang violence, he is a hero to his community. Nine years ago, Pierce was a hero of a different sort. Gifted with the superhuman power to harness and control electricity, he used those powers to keep his hometown streets safe as the masked vigilante Black Lightning. However, after too many nights with his life on the line, and seeing the effects of the damage and loss that his alter ego was inflicting on his family, he left his Super Hero days behind and settled into being a principal and a dad. Choosing to help his city without using his superpowers, he watched his daughters Anissa (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer (China Anne McClain) grow into strong young women, even though his marriage to their mother, Lynn (Christine Adams), suffered. Almost a decade later, Pierce’s crime-fighting days are long behind him…or so he thought. But with crime and corruption spreading like wildfire, and those he cares about in the crosshairs of the menacing local gang The One Hundred, Black Lightning returns — to save not only his family, but also the soul of his community.”

Check out The CW’s full schedule here.

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