Just a day after news broke that Black Lightning was looking to set up a potential Painkiller spinoff in the upcoming fourth season, Warner Bros. TV and The CW have promoted Chantal Thuy to series regular on the acclaimed superhero familiy drama. Thuy plays the role of Grace Choi, who is the love interest of Anissa Jefferson/Thunder (Nafessa Williams) and is a shape-shifting metahuman in her own right. The character debuted in the show's first season, and by the end of season three in the spring, she and Anissa were ready to get married, cementing their status as TV trailblazers for LGBTQ+ superheroes of color.
It seems plausible that the relationship between Grace and Anissa might get a little bit more screen time this year, with Thuy now a series regular and the long-running drama between Jennifer (China Anne McClain) and Khalil Payne (Jordan Calloway) seems to have found something of a resolution. The engagement and marriage will certainly be something that fans are eager to see dealt with when the show comes back, especially given the fact that the cliffhanger was given an unnaturally long hang time as a result of the pandemic.
"Chantal Thuy embodies the character of Grace Choi," Black Lightning executive producer and showrunner Salim Akil told Deadline, who broke the news. "I am sure our Black Lightning fans knew, especially those who follow the Grace and Anissa relationship storyline, that having Chantal join as a series regular was only a matter of time. I am elated to finally welcome her officially to the team."
"When I read the role, I was blown away by Grace’s playful wit, her strength and the fact that she was actually written as an Asian American superhero, which is still rare to this day," Thuy recalled. "I knew it was a role that would be really fun to play. My interest was also piqued because I had never seen an all-Black superhero series on The CW before, and I thought that was a really interesting and important story to explore."
Black Lightning has been run largely like a stand-alone series, even being produced in Atlanta, rather than Vancouver, where the rest of Berlanti's CW/DC series are shot. Last season, during the "Crisis on Infinite Earths" event, the worlds on which both Black Lightning and Supergirl took place were merged into the main timeline, and both characters joined a team that is essentially the Arrowverse's version of the Justice League.
At the time, "Crisis" showrunner Marc Guggenheim said that the decision to join or not join both the crossover and the larger DC Unvierse that Berlanti has set up at The CW was left up to Akil.
Season four, then, will be the first full season of the series set on Earth-Prime, and has, in theory, the potential to generate some crossover stories with other Arrowverse shows (The Flash, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, Batwoman). That may prove difficult, though, given the soaring coronavirus infection rates and the difficulty (and required quarantine time) involved with international travel.