Black Lightning's Anissa Pierce has stepped into her own as she's suited up as the superhero known as Thunder, and actor Nafessa Williams tells Newsarama that's just the beginning of a deeper exploration of the character.
With Black Lightning returning for new episodes beginning on January 21, Williams spoke with us about her character's maturation into being a costumed vigilante, the relationship with Jefferson Pierce, as well as the possibility of the show joining the 2019 DC-CW crossover event "Crisis on Infinite Earths."
Newsarama: Nafessa, what can you tease us about the next half of Black Lightning’s season?
Nafessa Williams: I’ll say my character is going through a lot personally, a lot is changing with her and Grace. So without giving too much we build on the storyline with Grace a bit, and we will discover some really cool things about her.
Nrama: We see that Grace is trying to hide her powers from Anissa. How do you think Anissa will react to this?
Williams: You know, I feel like it’s one of those things where she feels like she’s going to regret not telling her because it could have been easier from the beginning. It’s one of those things where she held it from her because she wanted to protect the relationship, and it’s going to be one of those things I believe she’s going to feel like "Wow, if I just told her who I was from the beginning then maybe she would’ve felt comfortable with telling me who she is."
Nrama: What can we expect from their relationship?
Williams: I think I’ve teased enough because if I tease anymore I’ll give away too much. But their relationship over time, as you guys can see, they have been spending more time with each other and they’re really trying to make this a serious relationship. Some really interesting things happen towards the end of the season.
Nrama: Are we going to see Anissa introduce her to the family? How do you think that dynamic will play out?
Williams: I’ll say that the family is well aware of who Grace is, and they’re learning even more about her. I’m not sure they’re going to meet before the season is over though.
Nrama: Jennifer’s superhero costume has finally been revealed. Does this mean we’ll get to see some superhero team-ups between Thunder and Lightning?
Williams: You may see some team-ups between us, this is still the very beginning, we are still waiting for that episode of her to suit up. We’re trying not to rush that story and really give her the same attention they gave Thunder’s character when it came to her coming out as a superhero. We’re really not rushing on it too much at all.
Nrama: It was just recently announced that the next crossover event will be “Crisis on Infinite Earths." Would you like to see Black Lightning as part of this event?
Williams: We always get the question of crossing over, and I think the storyline would have to make complete sense for us to do that because we live in a different universe as the Arrowverse. We would love to do a crossover, but I think it’s about a way of making it make sense. And also there are a lot of great characters on our show that we’re just being able to flesh out like Jennifer and Lightning. So the focus has been on developing the characters on our show first, I believe.
Nrama: Are there any DC TV heroes you particularly want to team up with?
Williams: Yeah, I’ve been hearing about this Ruby Rose and Batwoman. That would be really, really cool. I would like to explore that maybe.
Nrama: We saw a bit of Anissa using her medical background to help others this season. Are we going to see more of this?
Williams: I like the medical side of it because although she’s working in the medical side of it she’s then in turn able to use it within the superhero that she is. It’s a really cool play on it. Even though she’s working in the medical field, she’s still being a superhero. Even by doing that in the community, she’s not getting paid. She’s interning.
So I think that speaks a lot to her character, and I always love to explore the medical side of it. There are so many layers to who Anissa is to being an activist, being a medical student, being a superhero, to being a school teacher. I love when we are able to explore those, and last year we didn’t get to explore the medical side of it. So it made me really happy that we were able to touch upon it more this season.
Nrama: Are there any interesting action sequences in the next half of the season you’re excited for fans to see?
Williams: Oh yes, yes, yes. It gets really interesting – super action-packed to the end. We have to go out with a bang, right?
Nrama: Totally! Anything in particular power wise that you think is going to be cool to see with these action sequences?
Williams: Well I will say look forward to what Lightning will be doing towards the end of the season, and you’ll definitely get what you guys got in the first season where Thunder and Black Lightning team up. We are always a team. We are always in it together. So we’ll definitely see more of that.