The CW has picked up the “Black Lightning” pilot that was previously at Fox, which means the project has a better chance of making it to television. The series would focus on Jefferson Pierce, the man who saved the day as hero Black Lightning for some time before giving it all up. He decides to hang up his superhero duds and move on with his life. The choice he makes was intended to be final, but when the young people in his life start finding themselves in trouble everything changes.
“Luke Cage” is evidence that people need to see people of color leading projects and the role of Jefferson Pierce is another with the potential to both inspire and entertain. Below are several actors who could brilliantly play Jefferson Pierce on “Black Lightning.”
“Being Mary Jane” viewers are currently enjoying Michael Ealy as Justin Talbot, the man who fired Mary Jane in the past and is now working with her again. The actor was considering various film roles after appearing on ABC’s “Secrets and Lies” and was not intended to continue on television. According to Deadline, Ealy felt “a social responsibility to help elevate material with people of color.” If that was his thinking going into the BET drama, then the same could be said if the veteran actor were up for the role of Jefferson Pierce. Plus a veteran actor with buzzy film roles on the way can only benefit the Fox series.
DC Comic dramas have jumpstarted the careers of Stephen Amell, Grant Gustin and Melissa Benoist, a boost actor Lance Gross could benefit from. The actor, who has appeared on “Crisis,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and the less-than-successful third season of “Sleepy Hollow,” could use the platform “Black Lightning” would provide. Plus he’s talented enough to lead the series. Gross has done charming and can handle the action necessary. Plus a young father and teacher helping his community could be powerful to watch.
After 11 seasons Shemar Moore left CBS drama “Criminal Minds” looking to see what else was out there and Black Lightning is most definitely out here. The CBS procedural did not leave much for character development, but Moore took every chance and squeezed as much as he could out of each opportunity. Then there’s his past Comic book drama series role on short-lived series “Birds of Prey.” Fox may want to keep Moore on its radar.
Coby Bell is known for his previous roles on shows including “Burn Notice” and “The Game,” but since then we haven’t seen much of him. Bell has almost made it back to television several times after being cast in pilots “The Advocate” and “Cruel Intentions,” but the networks didn’t order either pilot to series. Bell is a talented actor who can kick ass, make us laugh and tackle serious scenes. He’d make a fantastic Black Lightning.
The only thing standing in Boris Kodjoe’s way to “Black Lightning” should be “Code Black.” Even that shouldn’t be much of an obstacle because Kodjoe is a talented actor who should be headlining a series. His performances in projects like “Last Man on Earth” and “Soul Food” are proof of his talent and range. Also the few who watched short-lived spy drama “Undercovers” know Kodjoe can kick ass on screen with the best of them.
Let ABC’s loss be Fox’s gain. Daniel Sunjata is one of the leads of ABC drama “Notorious,” but things don’t look very good for the legal drama. Hopefully the superhero drama lane will be next for the exceptional actor. With credits like “Graceland,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Rescue Me” under his belt, Sunjata is the type of veteran actor who should play Jefferson.
Brian J. White
Brian J. White is an actor who shows up all over the place, but has yet to be at the top of the call sheet. Stints on “The Shield” and “Hostages” brought White to my attention, but it was his arc on “Scandal” that showcased his potential. Playing the charming-suitor-turned-evil-spy on the ABC drama presented viewers with his range as an actor, which makes White a great fit for Black Lightning.
After years spent playing the best friend on “Grimm” Russell Hornsby deserves to have several starring roles in his future. The “Lincoln Heights” alum has in fact already lined up his next gig. The actor has joined the cast of crime drama “Seven Seconds” – as part of the ensemble. Hopefully the 10-episode series won’t get in the way of Hornsby landing the type of lead role he deserves.
For a few years I watched “The Game,” mainly for Tia Mowry, and I never really paid much attention to Pooch Hall. Then he joined the cast of “Ray Donovan” and everything changed. On the Showtime series Hall plays Daryll Donovan brilliantly. The loyal family man who is tough and warm has been entertaining for four seasons. The main issue is “Ray Donovan” doesn’t use the character very much. It may serve him better to be leading a series like “Black Lightning.”
Who do you want to see play Black Lightning?