The fourth season of The CW’s superhero drama Black Lightning will reportedly be the final one to air on the network, via The Hollywood Reporter. The final season kicks off in 2021 on February 8, according to Entertainment Weekly.
The seventh episode of season four is allegedly intended to serve as a backdoor pilot for a spin-off led by cyborg side character Painkiller (Jordan Calloway, Unfabulous), according to The Hollywood Reporter. The spin-off was referenced in an official statement made by Black Lightning showrunner Salim Akil (Jumping The Broom, Being Mary Jane) regarding the cancellation, via Instagram: “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.”
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Akil is no stranger to cancellations. In December of 2018, OWN ended the run of his 90’s-set romantic drama Love Is after one season, as reported by Deadline. Akil had created the series in cooperation with his wife Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends, The Game).
News of the cancellation came shortly after allegations of copyright infringement from actress Amber Brenner (Savages, Redrum) were made public, according to Deadline. Brenner claimed that Love Is was based on her screenplay Luv & Perversity in the East Village, which she had allegedly shown Akil in confidence, thereby classifying it as an implied breach of contract, via The Hollywood Reporter. Brenner’s suit against Akil also included accusations of domestic abuse that stemmed from her alleged long-term affair with the producer, as reported by Deadline. Brenner voluntarily dismissed the case five days before OWN broke the news about the Love Is cancellation, according to Deadline.
Without Black Lightning, The CW’s legacy of DC-inspired programming will continue by way of established series like The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman, new additions such as the upcoming Wonder Girl, as well as Stargirl and a broadcast-friendly re-edit of Swamp Thing. The latter two shows were cherrypicked from the DC Universe platform, which has all but abandoned SVOD in favor of online comic book archiving, Variety reports.
The first three seasons of Black Lightning are currently available to stream on Netflix.