Thursday, August 10, 2017

BLACK LIGHTNING Casts Marvin "Krondon" Jones III as Tobias Whale

Black Lightning officially has his arch-enemy.

The Hollywood Reporter has word that the upcoming CW series Black Lightning has cast rapper Marvin "Krondon" Jones III as DC Comics supervillain Tobias Whale.  

In the article, Tobias Whale is described as "an African-American man with albinism who is the leader of Freeland’s most feared gang — The 100.  But in the days before Black Lightning, Tobias was a politician, rising up the ranks of local government through corrupt and illegal means.  That was until he was brought down by Alvin Pierce, Jefferson’s father. Enraged, Tobias killed Alvin and was driven underground into exile.  It’s here he found a place to rebuild, growing into the violent and methodical leader of The 100 as viewers find him today.  But Black Lightning’s recent return has ignited Tobias’ desire to emerge from the shadows and face his biggest adversary, Jefferson Pierce a.k.a. Black Lightning."

Krondon, who is also albinistic, is best known as a member of the hip-hop group Strong Arm Steady, and has written for artists including Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre and Xzibit.  He recently released his debut album Everything's Nothing and has previously appeared on television as Castor Mukasa on the series Harry's Law.

"I was excited about Krondon when I saw his audition," said showrunner Salim Akil.  "He’s going to make a great Tobias!  His authentic street sensibility along with an insightful intelligence is perfect for the Tobias character arc.  Not to mention his regal physical bearing will be additive to making our show exciting and different."

Created in April 1977 by Tony Isabella and Trevor Von Eeden, Tobias Whale first appeared in Black Lightning (vol.1) #1 as an African American albino who worked his way up from the rackets to head the Metropolis branch of The 100.  A schoolteacher named Jefferson Pierce spoke out against the 100's drug trafficking, so they made an example of one of his students. Seeking to avenge the murdered student, Pierce became Black Lightning and sent Tobias Whale to jail.

Breaking out of prison some months later, Whale teamed up with Syonide in order to distribute a new highly addictive drug.  The drug's formula was supposedly in the possession of a woman named Violet Harper, and Tobias sent Syonide to retrieve the formula.  Unable to gain any information or find any trace of the formula, Syonide killed Harper, who later came back to life when an Aurakle possessed her lifeless body, turning her into Black Lightning's Outsiders teammate Halo.  Once he learned of Harper's resurrection, Whale assumed that she must have memorized the formula, but since Harper (now calling herself Gabrielle Doe) had no memories from before her death, a frustrated Syonide killed her parents.

In The New 52, the 2011 reboot of the DC Comics Universe, Tobias Whale received word that his drug deal overseen by his representatives was disrupted by both Black Lightning and Blue Devil.  He decided to have them hunted down in order to get revenge on them, but was unsuccessful in the attempt.

This will be the first time the character will be seen in live action, although Tobias Whale has appeared in the animated series Beware the Batman, voiced by Michael-Leon Wooley.

Black Lightning is expected to debut on The CW as a midseason replacement sometime in early 2018.

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