In the latest episode of Black Lightning‘s final season, it seems like the show is accounting for series star China Anne McClain’s exit by including it into the storyline and seemingly “recasting” the character of Jennifer Pierce / Lightning…at least in the meantime.
Fans know from the previous episode that Jennifer exploded in space. Some people thought that this meant that the character died, but in DC Comics canon, the character had a form of being pure energy, so the show could have gone down this route instead.
After Jennifer exploded, Jefferson went to get her energy and bring it back to Gambi so he could try to transmute it into a human body. He succeeded in doing so, but the family was shocked when the young woman who appeared before them was Jennifer…but it didn’t look like her.
— princess • sarcasm (@trulyasapphic) March 9, 2021
People on Twitter began to react as soon as the scene aired:
— CASANOVA Concierge (@shawnleon218) March 9, 2021
— Maceo (@Macy_Cray) March 9, 2021
#BlackLightning I see how y’all are going to spin this. I like the recast because the actor decided to leave the show so I fully accept the recast ✊???? but I think I know how y’all are going to spin it. That’s crazy tho
— ???? Mac The Positive Proud Black Man ✊???????? (@Macandrewsjr2) March 9, 2021
While the show has not made any official announcements, McClain did state that she would be appearing in fewer episodes this season and before the show announced it would be ending after season 4, she decided she wouldn’t be returning to the show if it came back.
“There’s been a lot to happen over this quarantine, and I’m not talking about the PC side of it,” she said at the time. “God is moving 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.”
It is unknown yet if this marks McClain’s final appearance or if her version of Jen will return before the series concludes.
Co-lead Nafessa Williams, who plays Anissa Pierce/Thunder look to welcome the new actress who is playing Jennifer (again, at least for now), Laura Kariuki. She wrote on Instagram, “I need y’all to welcome the sweet, beautiful and talented @laura.kariuki to the @cw_blacklightning family. Her first episode is airing tonight. Show her some looooove! #blacklightning.”