By Ashley Bulayo

The Black Lightning TV cast and co-creators made their epic appearance early Saturday morning inside Ballroom 20 to kick-off DCTV’s comic-con lineup.

The main message that was prevalent throughout the whole panel was the importance of representation and race. Right off the bat, co-creator Mara Brock-Akil comments on how she sought to depict black reality within the fictional universe: “Celebrating our culture is important to remind us that we are also part of the fabric of the American culture. In a lot of ways a lot of trends and our culture have now been appropriated to just be American. I think it’s also important to know its origin.”

She goes on to say, “I’m also very excited about showing what’s really happening in our neighborhoods. And showing that Black Lighting’s there. Thunder’s there. Lightning is coming. Dr. Lynn Pierce is there. But there are just a lot of everyday people. They’re the everyday heroes surviving what’s happening in these neighborhoods.”

Meanwhile, Nafeesa Williams (who plays Anissa Pierce) touches on playing an out-lesbian woman on television: “Representation is important. […] The most rewarding part of this experience is for young lesbians to come up to me and say after seeing Thunder they feel normal and feel safe to be out as a lesbian.”

Another great talking point was touching upon Marvin Jones’s role as the layered super villain, Tobias Whale: “The role itself is a dream come true for me because it tells so many truths about what people who face adverse situations that they’re born with that they have no control over. Some of the things they may go through, some of the biases they deal with.”

He continues, “Through his issues that are layered and deep within him, he became very corrupt. Just the duality of the good and evil he represents through his upbringing is something I think a lot of us face on a day-to-day basis. Whether it’s being in the black community, of course, we’re always given a hill to climb. Some of us climb that hill different ways. And Tobias Whale is an example of one of those ways.”

When it comes to the Pierce sisters being involved in the struggle of the fight and articulating it into African American themes, Mara was quick to point out black women have always been there during any struggle: “Black women have always been at the forefront of struggle. We have always been fighting. We have always been behind our men. We have always been behind our community. We have always been at the voting polls. We have always been there to be there for the family.” She continues, “What’s beautiful, what’s necessary and what’s purposeful was that Salim and I wanted to be a part of showing that image on television. Reflection what is really true that is often overlooked which is often invisible but black women have always been at that fight.”

On a lighter note, we did get a small bit of information when it comes to season 2. Cress Williams mentioned how every role he does have other than being Black Lightning, is a full time job. Whether it be being a father or being a school principal. We’ll be able to see him juggle those roles even more and how it eventually takes its toll.

One (and quite frankly, only) of the announcements was that Jordan Calloway AKA Khalil Payne has been promoted to series regular!

And as for those who wanted to know what was in the suitcase from the end of last season? No real answers. All we know is that it’s “the future of Freeland.”

Black Lightning is back on air October 9.