The CW’s Black Lightning may have announced its final season Friday, but one of its main cast members was already planning an early exit.
In an Instagram video posted Saturday, China Anne McClain (who plays Jennifer Pierce, aka Lightning), revealed that the show’s upcoming fourth season was going to be her last “regardless of if it went on or not.”
Though the actress said she didn’t find out about the series ending until the news broke Friday, she elaborated, “What I did know and have known along with the rest of the cast since before we even started shooting this season is that I am leaving the show. And was leaving the show. This was going to be my last season.”
McClain also confirmed that she only signed on for a limited number of Season 4 episodes, so fans can expect to see far less of Lightning when the show returns Feb. 8 to begin its final run.
As for why she chose to exit, McClain only provided hints. “There’s been a lot to happen over this quarantine, and I’m not talking about the PC side of it,” she said, while discussing the pandemic and current ways of the world. “God is moving me in more than one way than just this show. It’s bigger than this show. I’m doing God’s work now… and I’m not doing anything else.”
The actress was quick to explain that her decision was not fueled by any on-set drama or unhappiness with the show or its network. Rather, she praised the people in charge, and made it clear that her decision was a personal choice.
“I’m not leaving because I had a terrible time working at The CW,” she said, fighting back tears. “I like the CW. I like [CW network president] Mark Pedowitz, I like [Warner Bros. president] Peter Roth, [EP] Greg Berlanti, I love [showrunner] Salim [Akil], I always will. He gets it. And people that actually know me… they know why I make the decisions that I make.”
Toward the end of the clip, she wished nothing but the best for Akil and costar Jordan Calloway, whose spinoff Painkiller is currently in development.
“Congratulations to Salim and Jordan, who just got a spinoff. Please support him in that. God did that for him and he’s going to do great, I know it,” McClain added.
Black Lightning stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce, McClain as Jennifer Pierce, Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce, Christine Adams as Lynn Stewart, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as Tobias Whale, James Remar as Peter Gambi, Chantal Thuy as Grace Choi (newly promoted to series regular!) and Calloway as Khalil Payne.