Perhaps unsurprisingly, the primary antagonist on the first season of The CW drama Black Lightning will be familiar to longtime readers of DC comics.
During an appearance last weekend at the ATX Television Festival in Austin, Texas, co-showrunners Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil revealed they’re eager to explore the backstories on Black Lightning‘s antagonists, as opposed to a “villain-of-the-week” approach. Chief among those foes is “Tobias,” presumably longtime DC Comics foe Tobias Whale.
“It’s a character-driven show. I don’t know if there’s going to be a fight every week,” Salim Akil said, according to International Business Times. “There’s certainly not going to be a villain of the week. I don’t want to do that. We really want to explore the characters, even the villains. I think one of the most interesting characters right now from a storytelling standpoint is Tobias. Because we’re not having him sort of twist his mustache. His hatred for himself and for others comes from a real place, so we want to know why he’s like that.”
Created by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, Tobias Whale was introduced in 1977 in DC’s Black Lightning #1 as a criminal who worked his way through the Metropolis branch of the organized-crime group The 100. A longtime nemesis of Black Lightning, Tobias eventually became the CEO of Kord Enterprises, which served as a front for the crime syndicate the Intergang.
The inclusion of Tobias Whale on the TV drama isn’t particularly surprising, as the role of The 100 was revealed in May in the expanded plot synopsis for Black Lightning.
In the same panel, Salim Akil spoke about his desire to include Static/Virgil Hawkins from Static Shock on the show. However, rights issues surrounding the character, who was created by Milestone Comics founders Dwayne McDuffie and Denys Cowan before making the jump to DC Comics, might make that more difficult. Milestone Media has also been developing a live-action TV series starring the character for quite some time, with Jaden Smith reportedly eyed at one point for the title role.
Premiering as part of The CW’s midseason lineup, Black Lightning stars Cress Williams as Black Lightning/Jefferson Pierce, China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce, Christine Adams as Lynn and Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce.