With the news dropping today that Greg Barlenti may be looking to add another DC TV show to his resume, Black Lightning will be in need of a leading man quicker than you can say The Flash. The show is currently being pitched to different networks in hopes of being picked up, and with DC television being such a hot item right now the show will most likely be scooped up quickly. The CW has Friday nights open, and with the success their current shows have had other networks have already gotten in on the superhero fun and will probably continue to do so.
Between the CW’s Monday-Thursday line up, Fox’s Gotham and Lucifer, AMC’s Preacher, and NBC’s ill-fated Constantine, it seems like Black Lightning could end up anywhere. For now, however, we will just have to wait for an official announcement. In the meantime, as fans, we sure do love our fan-casts, and this time we get the chance to pick out five actors that could bring DC’s first African-American headlining TV superhero to life. What an awesome time we live in.
Without further ado, here are five actors that could play TV’s Black Lightning.
5. J. August Richards
Best known to superhero fans as Mike Peterson, or Deathlok, from Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., J. August Richards has already proved to us that he has the chops to play a hero who loves their child more than anything. According to the brief description of the show, Black Lightning will be an ex-superhero who picks the mantle back up for his daughters. Richards is just the right age to have two daughters, but can still move like he’s in his 20s. Aside from S.H.I.E.L.D., Richards is also known for his role on Angel, another fan-favorite series. He is currently still attached to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but considering his last appearance was during season two I think he probably has enough time on his hands to get the job done as Black Lightning.
4. Leonard Roberts
Two out of three of Roberts’ most noteworthy roles were on shows that most readers on Heroic Hollywood are very familiar with: Heroes and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He has a lot of geek cred already, and to add to that he has also appeared on both Smallville and Agent Carter. He’s had one movie role this year and two television shows, most recently the The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story. He has mostly stuck within the same character archetype, playing some sort of an officer or agent in the majority of his roles. Black Lightning would be a great way to break out of his narrow comfort zone into something new. With a resume as niche as his, an actor like Leonard Roberts would just feel right taking the role.
3. Brandon T. Jackson
At 32, Brandon T. Jackson is the youngest entry on this list. He has appeared in some low-level movies like Lottery Ticket and the Percy Jackson films, in addition to having a good number of television shows under his belt. Let’s not forget that the Percy Jackson films were written by none other than Marc Guggenheim, so that’s a big plus in his favor. He would probably be all for the series, as he seems to be open to trying new things. He’s done an episode of MTV’s improv sketch show Wild ‘N Out and provided his voice for the Netflix animated show, Bojack Horseman. He had a film come out this year (that you’ve most likely never heard of: Get a Job), but at the moment he does not appear to be working on anything noteworthy. He seems like an actor who is on the edge of finally landing his first high caliber leading role, and Black Lightning could be just what he needs.
2. Ricky Whittle
To start, the guy just looks like he’s a superhero. To add to that, he was on The 100 so he already has a relationship with The CW – if that is where Black Lightning ends up. With his current project, American Gods (Starz), set to premier in early 2017, the timing could work out as Black Lightning will most likely begin production somewhere within the time American Gods first season is airing (if it gets picked up as quickly as I think it’s going to). Between his physicality, his acting resume, and his upcoming schedule, Ricky Whittle looks like a perfect candidate to play the electric-wielding superhero.
1. Pooch Hall
Pooch Hall is best known for the role of football player Derwin Davis on The CW and BET’s The Game. Hall has shown he has the physicality to take on the role of a superhero, and already has a relationship with both The CW – once again, if that is where Black Lightning happens to end up – and with the show’s writers, Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil. The Akil’s were two of the executive producers on The Game, so he scores some major bonus points in that department. He hasn’t done much acting since 2013, but just this year finished filming a movie for the Venice Film Festival, titled The Bleeder where he will be playing the late Muhammad Ali. Now would be a perfect time to jump-start his career back up with a superhero gig. Not to mention, if you look at Black Lightning in some of his incarnations from the comics, this guy looks like he was pulled straight from the print.