When a show recasts a character, it is often met with fan backlash and is never explained. However, Black Lightning just recast one of its main characters and did it in a way that served the story.
China Anne McClain is no longer playing Jennifer Pierce/Lightning and has been replaced by actress Laura Kariuki.
Black Lightning recasts Jennifer Pierce
This all started in last week’s episode of Black Lightning.
Jennifer Pierce/Lightning flew up into the ionosphere and ended up overpowered by the energy. She then exploded into light.
In this week’s Black Lightning episode, “The Book of Ruin: Chapter 1: Picking Up the Pieces,” Jennifer’s family jumped into action, knowing there was a way to save her.
Black Lightning flew up to collect all Jennifer’s energy to bring it back to the sanctum. He believed there was a chance to transmute the energy back into the human body.
While it looked like Jennifer might die, she survived and they were able to get the energy back into the body to save her. However, she walked out a different person.
The Jennifer that walked out had her mind but her body was completely different. Welcome actress Laura Kariuki to the Black Lightnging cast.
China Anne McClain warned that this was coming
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Jennifer was recast because the other option was that she died.
Last year, China Anne McClain said on social media that she was leaving the show during its final season.
“This season of Black Lightning that we’re filming right now is going to be the last season of the show. I didn’t find that out until yesterday. I found out with everybody else,” McClain said. “I didn’t know. But, 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.”
She went on to say that she was leaving Black Lightning even if this wasn’t the last season, and was going to exit no matter the renewal decision.
“I only agreed to do a certain number of episodes. I’m not in the whole season,” McClain continued. “There’s been a lot to happen over this quarantine, and I’m not talking about the PC side of it. I’m not talking about that. These things are real. And the way of the world now, it’s real. All of this is an illusion, this industry for what it is, and everything that people look to and praise?”
“It’s not important.”
Black Lightning airs Monday nights at 9/8c on The CW.