'Black Lightning' to End With Season 4 on The CW

Black Lightning - Cress Williams, Nafessa Williams
Nathan Bolster/The CW

Cress Williams and Nafessa Williams in 'Black Lightning.'

Black Lightning is coming to an end.

The CW on Friday announced that the upcoming fourth season will serve as the final one for the Greg Berlanti-produced DC Comics drama.

"When we first started the Black Lighting journey, I knew that Jefferson Pierce and his family of powerful Black women would be a unique addition to the superhero genre. The love that Blerds and all comic book fans around the globe have shown this series over the past three seasons proved what we imagined, Black people want to see themselves in all their complexities," showrunner and exec producer Salim Akil said in a statement. "Thank you to the phenomenal cast, writers and crew without whom none of this would’ve been possible. I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve been able to do and the moments we’ve been able to create in bringing DC’s first African American family of superheroes to life for the culture."

Akil created Black Lightning and exec produces alongside Berlanti and Berlanti Productions president Sarah Schechter. Mara Brock Akil, Oz Scott and Pascal Verschooris also exec produce the series. It's worth noting that Black Lightning producers Warner Bros. TV previously investigated Salim Akil in late 2018 after he was sued for domestic violence and breach of contract by an actress and writer Amber Dixon Brenner. He denied the allegations and nothing came from the studio's investigation.

The younger-skewing broadcast network is already working on a Black Lightning spinoff, having earlier this month put Painkiller into development. Jordan Calloway, who started with the series in season one and was promoted to regular a year later, will reprise his role as Khalil Payne, aka Painkiller. The pilot for the potential series will air as a backdoor pilot and be the seventh episode in the upcoming fourth season of Black Lightning. Salim Akil, who developed Black Lightning, will pen the script, exec produce and direct the pilot. Painkiller is based on DC Comics characters created by Tony Isabella and Eddy Newell.

This will be the first attempt at a spinoff from Black Lightning, which returns for its fourth season Feb. 8, and the latest offshoot of a Berlanti-produced CW DC Comics show. The flagship, Arrow, wrapped last season and Supergirl, which was the third of the network's DC-verse, will come to an end in 2021 after six seasons. Berlanti's slate of DC fare also includes The Flash (returning for its seventh season), Legends of Tomorrow (heading into season six) and Batwoman (entering its sophomore run).

News of Black Lightning's spinoff arrives as The CW has become defined by its successful franchises and as the network — a joint venture between CBS Studios and Warner Bros. TV — said farewell to flagship Supernatural this week. The network last season had a Riverdale spinoff and has attempted to grow Supernatural into several other offshoots. A spinoff of The 100, which recently ended its run, is also in development.

"I’m very grateful to Peter Roth, Warner Bros. TV, Mark Pedowitz, The CW Network and Greg Berlanti for their partnership and support of my vision at every step of this journey," Akil said. "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.”