Is The CW’s Black Lightning still getting a Painkiller spinoff?

Has the Jordan Calloway-fronted spinoff been picked to series by The CW?

Is The CW’s Black Lightning still getting a Painkiller spinoff? 1

Black Lightning ends its four-season run this week, and while a lot of fans are looking forward to its Painkiller spinoff series, it has just been revealed that the project was passed over by The CW.

Though Painkiller is not going forward at The CW, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Warner Bros. Television will be shopping the spinoff around to other potential homes, noting that “HBO Max could be a possible destination” for the series. Fans, however, should understand that there’s no guarantee that HBO Max will immediately pick up Painkiller to series just because the streaming service and Warner Bros. Television are both under WarnerMedia.

In the potential Painkiller spinoff, the titular character, who also goes by the name Khalil Payne (Jordan Calloway), leaves Freeland City after being used as a weapon by Tobias Whale, Agent Odell, and the shadowy ASA. Ridden with the guilt of his troubled past, Khalil heads to Akashic Valley to find peace. “But peace never comes easy for men with pasts like his,” reads a portion of the logline for the project. “As his violent, destructive history crashes his idyllic new beginning, Khalil is thrust 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.”

Shortly after it was revealed that The CW didn’t pick up Painkiller to series, Calloway took to Instagram to confirm the news to his followers.

“Painkiller will not be going forward, so let’s rip that band-aid off now,” he said in his IGTV post, in which he also thanked the fans, cast members, The CW, and WarnerMedia for “affording me the opportunity to even do a spinoff.”

“Doing this project has been nothing less than a blessing,” added the 30-year-old actor. “I can’t put into words how grateful I am – from the experiences I’ve learned to the relationships I’ve made. It’s been a blast, it’s been phenomenal.”


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Should another network or streamer pick up Painkiller to series, Calloway will costar with Sibongile Mlambo as Maya, Alexander Hodge as Philky, and James Roch as cousin Donald. Black Lightning showrunner Salim Akil will write, exec produce, and direct the spinoff.

Akil recently said that that he plans to examine the duality of Black men in Painkiller. “With Khalil what I’m trying to explore, I think I take myself a little bit too seriously, but what I’m trying to explore is the duality of a lot of African-American men,” he recently told “In one regard, you want to be the American dream. You want to be that participant in American culture, but at the same time, you’re always seen as the other. And within yourself, what you’re trying to do is become whole. You’re trying to become a whole person. And there’s always something that separates you from the whole. There’s always a reminder of what separates you from the, be it police brutality, the lack of jobs, lack of concern about the violence in your community.”

The planted pilot for Painkiller aired last month as the seventh episode of Black Lightning’s fourth and final season.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter,
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