Warning: This story contains major spoilers from Tuesday’s episode of Black Lightning. Read at your own risk!
Black Lightning dropped quite the bombshell during Tuesday’s episode, hinting at a major connection to the Arrow-verse, a.k.a. the other four CW superhero shows.
During Tuesday’s episode, Jennifer (China Anne McClain) discovered the truth about her father actually being Black Lightning (Cress Williams), while her sister is the newbie hero known as Thunder (Nafessa Williams). When her mother arrived, Jennifer asked if she was about to reveal that she’s actually Vixen, but Lynn (Christine Adams) replied that she’s neither that heroine nor is she Supergirl.
The name drops seem to confirm that Black Lightning lives within the same multiverse that heroes from Arrow, Supergirl, The Flash, and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow call home, which would somewhat go against what was initially revealed about the show. (We’ll come back to that in a moment.)
To note, the Arrow-verse actually includes two different versions of Vixen. Mari McCabe was first voiced by Megalyn E.K. on the titular animated CW Seed series before she appeared in the flesh on Arrow. Mari’s grandmother, Amaya Jiwe, is currently being portrayed by Maisie Richardson-Sellers on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.
The prospect that Black Lightning‘s hometown of Freeland lives within the multiverse is very interesting, but super complicated. First off, Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) lives on an entirely different Earth from the other heroes — she’s on Earth-38, while the rest all hail from Earth-1. Earth-1, by the by, doesn’t actually know of the existence of Supergirl, save for probably the government as she played a role in saving the planet from the Dominator’s invasion. So, the name drops could be a hint that Black Lightning actually takes place on Earth-38.
A small glitch: Both times the four shows have done major crossovers, Kara hasn’t mentioned knowing of Vixen on her Earth. We could just chalk that up to her not actually being aware of the heroine, even if she does exist on Earth-38.
However, there was a brief mention by Harry (Tom Cavanagh), who actually hails from Earth-2, during the Crisis on Earth-X crossover that there is a Kara Danvers on every Earth. So the aforementioned and highly convoluted explanation brings us back to square one, in which Black Lightning could just actually take place on Earth-1. There was even a mention in the Black Lightning pilot of other super-powered people cropping up in various towns — an angry commenter on the news lamented Black Lightning being labeled a vigilante, while those others were dubbed superheroes.
Maybe Earth-1 does know about the Girl of Steel following the events of Crisis, because, why not? Anissa’s new flame Grace (Chantal Thuy) even name-dropped Supergirl earlier this season when the duo planned to attend a cosplay party — viewers could then interpret that as Supergirl just being a comic book character, but armed with this name drop, maybe the residents of this Earth do know about her as a real-life hero. Confused? It’s a lot to take in.
So let’s get back to what’s actually been said on record about Black Lightning being part of the Arrow-verse. Shortly after Black Lightning was added to The CW lineup, network boss Mark Pedowitz made it clear the show was not in the multiverse. “Black Lightning, at this time, is not part of the Arrow-verse. It is a separate situation,” he said. Black Lightning executive producer Salim Akil subsequently told EW that “everything is possible,” but they planned to establish the character first. In other words, both hedged in a way where a crossover could be possible in the future, but much like Supergirl did in its first season, they want to world-build their own story before doing any crossovers. Only time will tell if Black Lightning will, therefore, join the rest of the heroes next season during the annual crossover event.
Black Lightning airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.