Cress Williams as Black Lightning
“Black Lightning” showrunner Salim Akil said that Jefferson Pierce’s ethnicity is “culturally exciting,” but the executive producer pointed out that it alone won’t generate enough stories for the new CW series. The CW

Although “Black Lightning” is poised to make history as one of the first major broadcast network TV shows with a black superhero in the lead role, showrunner Salim Akil revealed that he’s not feeling any pressure adapting Jefferson Pierce’s story for the small screen.

“I don’t feel any pressure; I just want to tell good stories,” Akil told The Hollywood Reporter. “I don’t think that the most interesting thing about Jefferson is that he’s African-American. What’s interesting to me about the character is that he’s a superhero who happens to be a father. He has an ex-wife. He’s a principal of a school. He’s a single-dad raising two daughters. Those, along with the fact that he has these powers, are much more interesting than the fact that he’s African-American.”

Although Akil said that Jefferson’s ethnicity is “culturally exciting,” the showrunner pointed out that it alone won’t generate enough stories. “If the only thing that was interesting about Jefferson Pierce is that he is African-American, I don’t think we’d have much of a show,” Akil said. “Culturally, that’s exciting. But there are a lot of other exciting things about Jefferson that I look forward to delving into.”

READ: Does Cress Williams want “Black Lightning” to join Arrowverse?

In a separate interview with Entertainment Weekly, Akil said that he’s actually honored to bring Jefferson Pierce’s story to TV. “It’s not pressure, it’s joy,” Akil told the news outlet when asked if there’s an added pressure for him to develop a show with a black superhero in the lead role. “I get the opportunity as a showrunner to present a hero to a community that’s underserved in terms of having superheroes. So it’s exciting to be able to be involved and to be at the forefront and the vanguard of that — if you want to call it a movement or a popularity or whatever it is — but I’m excited to be a part of it.”

“Black Lightning” revolves around Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) who retired from his superhero gig as Black Lightning nine years ago. He, however, is forced to return to his vigilante ways when one of his daughters becomes hell-bent on justice, and the other is being recruited by a local gang.

Nafessa Willams and China Anne McClain play Jefferson’s daughters, Anissa and Jennifer, who will eventually get their own powers, too. “Black Lightning” also stars Christine Adams as Lynn Pierce, the siblings’ mom and Jefferson’s former wife.

More details about the new show are expected to be revealed at the show’s San Diego Comic-Con panel on Saturday, July 22.

“Black Lightning” will premiere midseason on The CW.