Another Arrowverse show bites the dust. Following Arrow and Supergirl into the superhero retirement home is Black Lightning, which The CW has today announced will be ending after its incoming fourth season. Cress Williams has starred as high school principal Jefferson Pierce AKA the eponymous electrically powered vigilante on the series since 2018, but now his adventures will be coming to a close.
Creator Salim Akil released a statement to Variety reflecting on how the popularity of Black Lightning proves the importance of having black voices in front of and behind the camera, whether in comic book TV or in general.
“When we first started the Black Lighting journey, I knew that Jefferson Pierce and his family of powerful Black Women would be a unique addition to the super hero genre,” Akil said. “The love that Blerds and all comic book fans around the globe have shown this series over the past three seasons proved what we imagined, Black People Want To See Themselves in all their complexities.”
For those distraught by this news, don’t worry, as the world of Black Lightning will continue in a brand new show. This cancellation follows the announcement that spinoff Painkiller, starring Jordan Callowan as the titular antihero, has been given a backdoor pilot order by The CW. And now that we know its parent series is ending, it seems that Painkiller is being envisioned as more of a continuation of BL than just a spinoff.
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Akil continued his statement by thanking those responsible for making Black Lightning with him over the years, as well as teasing “a new chapter” of the story in Painkiller.
“Thank you to the phenomenal cast, writers and crew without whom none of this would’ve been possible,” Akil added. “I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve been able to do and the moments we’ve been able to create in bringing DC’s first African-American family of super heroes to life for the culture. I’m very grateful to Peter Roth, Warner Bros. TV, Mark Pedowitz, The CW Network and Greg Berlanti for their partnership and support of my vision at every step of this journey. While Season Four may be the end of one journey, I’m extremely excited to usher in a new chapter and continued collaboration with The CW as we tell the story of Painkiller.”
That’s two Arrowverse series wrapping up in the coming 2021 season, then, following Supergirl previously being revealed to close with its sixth run. In some ways, you could say that one’s being continued by Superman & Lois, while Arrow still has a slim chance of getting a sequel series as well in Green Arrow & the Canaries. Painkiller, meanwhile, has only got a backdoor pilot in BL season 4 at present, but fingers crossed it’ll lead to something bigger.
Black Lightning premieres its final season Monday, February 8th on The CW.