The Arrowverse is about to say goodbye to its most electrifying superhero. According to Deadline, Black Lightning will end after its upcoming fourth season. Although this news is surprising, a few recent CW-verse announcements might explain why the show is coming to a close.
When Black Lightning began, it stood out as one of the few superhero shows that had Jefferson Pierce, a black character, placed firmly in the lead role. But it further distinguished itself by diving into the nuances and complications of how difficult it is to balance a family with superheroics. Throughout the first three seasons, his ex-wife Lynn and daughters Jennifer and Anissa were all given complex storylines that explored challenging topics through the eyes of black women. The intimacy of their stories was perfectly balanced with strong villains, shocking twists, and really fun fight scenes.
Although the third season finale offered a few new directions the show could go in, the CW has chosen to end Black Lightning’s journey for now. One of the reasons for this finale may be the recently announced Painkiller show: Painkiller A.K.A. Khalil Payne is a black teenager with metahuman abilities that had an interesting journey on Black Lighting. He went from supporting character to all-out villain and now seems to be an anti-hero (at the moment). A series following what this high-school-student-turned-assassin chooses to do with his gifts is an interesting prospect.
Ending Black Lightning may give the Painkiller show more of an opportunity to stand on its own two feet without being compared to its parent show. And given that Supergirl on CW is ending after its current season as Superman and Lois is starting, this line of thought isn’t too far fetched. And with a Wonder Girl series on the way as Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and Batwoman continue their respective runs, the network will still have plenty of superhero content to go around.
But the presence of all these new shows won’t make saying goodbye to Black Lightning any easier. The series gave fans a lot of great memories and provided another opportunity for black people everywhere to see themselves as superheroes. Maybe we’ll see the Pierce family appear in some form on Painkiller or a future CW-verse crossover. They always encouraged us to take charge of our own futures. Hopefully, they have one too.