Painkiller: Black Lightning Sets Up Spinoff with Backdoor Pilot to Debut in Season 4
The CW has announced that they’re currently in the process of developing the first Black Lightning spinoff which will center on one of the series’ villains, Painkiller, who is portrayed by Jordan Calloway (Riverdale). The introduction to the new Arrowverse series will start as a backdoor pilot that will air in 2021 as the seventh episode of Black Lightning‘s upcoming fourth season.
Painkiller will be written and directed by Black Lightning showrunner Salim Akil, who will also serve as an executive producer. Calloway’s Khalil Payne was introduced as a recurring character during the first season of the series, where his future as a track star comes to a crashing end when a stray bullet severs his spine. He took on the mantle of the villain Painkiller after accepting Tobias Whale’s tempting offer of working legs in exchange for becoming his right henchman.
The new series’ official logline reads (via The Wrap): “Khalil Payne (Jordan Calloway) is a young man ridden with the guilt of his troubled past from his former life in Freeland City, where, as a super-enhanced killing machine known as Painkiller, he was both a member of Tobias Whale’s gang and a weapon of Agent Odell and the shadowy ASA. After attempting to bury the darker, devastatingly lethal Painkiller part of his persona, Khalil has distanced himself away from everyone he knows and loves in a new city, Akashic Valley, in order to find peace…but peace never comes easy for men with pasts like Khalil Payne and Painkiller. As his violent, destructive history crashes his idyllic new beginning, Khalil is thrusted back into action with a new mission – bring justice where he once gave out punishment – but to do that, he will first have to deal with and harness his darker side, Painkiller.”
High school principal Jefferson Pierce, who retired from his superhero persona Black Lightning for almost nine years after seeing the effects it had on his family, is forced to become a vigilante again when the rise of the local gang called The 100 led by Tobias Whale leads to increased crime and corruption in his community of Freeland.
The series stars Cress Williams as Jefferson Pierce/Black Lightning, Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce, China Anne McClain as Jennifer Pierce, James Remar as Peter Gambi, Damon Gupton as Inspector Henderson, Christine Adams as Lynn Pierce, Marvin Jones III as Tobias Whale, and Jordan Calloway as Khalil Payne.
Based on the characters from DC, Black Lightning is from Berlanti Productions and Akil Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Greg Berlanti (“Arrow,” “The Flash”), Salim Akil & Mara Brock Akil (“Being Mary Jane,” “The Game,” “Girlfriends”), Charles D. Holland (“JAG”) and Sarah Schechter (“Arrow,” “The Flash”). The Black Lightning character was created by Tony Isabella with Trevor Von Eeden.