In an Instagram video posted over the weekend, China Anne McClain (Hubie Halloween, Descendants 2) revealed that the upcoming fourth season of The CW’s Black Lightning would have been her last, even if the show had not been recently cancelled. McClain told fans that she found out about the show’s cancellation at the same time everyone else did and felt it a fitting occasion to share her news.
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As Jefferson Pierce’s daughter, Jennifer, and the superhero Lightning, McClain has been featured in every episode of Black Lightning to-date, but the actress revealed that her role in the series will be reduced in the upcoming final season. She told fans of the show that she “only agreed to do a certain number of episodes” before her departure from the series, via Instagram. However, further details on the expected length of Lightning’s season four run have yet to be disclosed by The CW.
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In McClain’s tearful and solemn twelve-minute Instagram video, she remained adamant that her decision to leave the show is personal and does not reflect any ill-will on individuals at Black Lightning or The CW. The actress expressed her gratitude and love for the entire crew at The CW, specifically citing network President Mark Pedowitz, WarnerBros. President Peter Roth and executive producer Greg Berlanti (Arrow, The Flash).
While McClain discussed her reasons for leaving the show in vague terms, she insinuated that Black Lightning showrunner Salim Akil (Black Lightning, Being Mary Jane) was supportive and understanding of the new chapter she’s hoping to start. “He gets it,” she says of Akil “and people that actually know me, they know why I make the decisions that I make” (Instagram).
In her video, McClain called the entertainment industry an “illusion” and expressed concerns that a “spirit” is missing in most projects these days, via Instagram. However, McClain does not intend to cast an indictment of any project or individual, nor does she plan to retire from entertainment altogether. The actress, who got her start on Disney Channel, said that she plans to dedicate her time to telling unseen stories that maintain that sense of spirit she felt missing elsewhere, according to Instagram. McClain said she’s no longer “in it for the paycheck” and that she will only be “doing God’s work” from now on, via Instagram.
God and faith played a large role in McClain’s Instagram video and, according to the actress, her decision to leave Black Lightning. She even reference god in her continued praise for those who worked on the show, asking fans to support Jordan Calloway (Black Lightning, Riverdale) in his upcoming Painkiller spin-off by saying “God did that for him” (Instagram).
The actress thanked the show’s fans on multiple occasions and addressed their feeling regarding the cancellation news. “Thank y’all for supporting the show. I hope you took some genuinely good things from it, some good moments,” McClain told fans on Instagram.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Black Lighting will return for its fourth and final season on February 4. While fans now know to expect a little less Jennifer Pierce, what comes next for McClain is still unknown, only that the actress is looking forward for this new beginning.