The Arrow-verse got shaken up in major ways thanks to the recent conclusion of the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover event, which finally brought all of The CW's superhero shows together at last. While it remains to be seen exactly how the cameo-heavy multiverse madness directly affected Black Lightning's Freeland, one of the drama's stars made the surprise announcement that neither he nor his character will be returning in Season 4.
Damon Gupton, who starred on CBS' Criminal Minds ahead of jumping into the superhero drama, hit up social media with the rather shocking reveal that Black Lightning apparently didn't make room for Billy Henderson's brand of law enforcement within the Season 4 narrative that's currently in development. You can check out the actor's post below.
It appears that Damon Gupton has spent at least the past few weeks sitting on the information that his metahuman-friendly police chief Billy Henderson will be making an exit before the onset of Season 4, which was just officially ordered by The CW in January 2020. It's not clear exactly why the actor is only now coming clear about his lack of a future on Black Lightning, but legal issues were likely involved with the delayed info.
In any case, there's obviously a reason why showrunner and co-creator Salim Akil wants to sideline Chief Henderson as Black Lightning closes out its third season on the way to a fourth in the fall, even if the reason itself isn't so obvious. Fans can take some comfort in Damon Gupton's message, since it probably means Henderson's resistance efforts won't get him killed off. (Unless, of course, Gupton was dropping big spoilers on fans with that announcement.)
Fans and friends lit up Damon Gupton's Twitter page with kind messages, as well as anger over Black Lightning excising the character for Season 4. One such commenter included the actor's BL co-star Adetinpo Thomas, who plays Jamillah Olson.
Add to that Black Lightning's Major Sara Grey portrayer Katy O'Brian, who also had some kind sentiments for Gupton.
Weirdly enough, this isn't the first time that Damon Gupton has been dropped from a popular TV show without a whole lot of lead-up time. Prior to joining Black Lightning, the actor was added to the cast of Criminal Minds in Season 12 as Stephen Walker, in part to help settle the dust kicked up by Thomas Gibson's controversial firing in 2016. Unfortunately, Agent Walker's presence within the BAU was highly limited in nature.
After only one season, Damon Gupton revealed (again through social media) that he had been dropped by Criminal Minds, making him one of the few one-and-done cast members on the longtime CBS hit. On the flip side, Adam Rodriguez's Luke Alvez was also introduced as a void-filler in Season 12, and he'll still be involved when Criminal Minds wraps up its 15-year run this spring.
Given how much appreciation Damon Gupton showed in his farewell message, it's unlikely that the actor experienced anything super-scandalous when being told his character wouldn't be a part of Jefferson Pierce's life anymore. And if Black Lightning does indeed keep Billy alive when it sends him off by the end of Season 3, it's certainly possible Gupton could return for a future appearance. Is it too early to start predicting the next big crossover event will be fully centered on Billy Henderson and the soon-to-be-established Billy-verse?
Black Lightning Season 3 will return to The CW for its winter premiere on Monday, January 20, at 9:00 p.m. ET. To see what other superhero shows are on the way, head to our 2020 winter and spring TV premiere schedule.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.