This week, Black Lightning ends its run after four seasons and unfortunately for fans of The CW series, it's the end of the story for Khalil Payne/Painkiller as well. On Monday, the network announced that they will not be moving forward with the Painkiller spinoff series. The series had first been announced last fall and was given a backdoor pilot as the seventh episode of Black Lightning's final season. Reports have indicated that the series could still find a home on the HBO Max streaming service.
Had it gone to series, Painkiller would have followed Khalil Payne (Jordan Calloway), a young man ridden with the guilt of his troubled past from his former life in Freeland City. 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 his. 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. In addition to Calloway, the series would have starred Sibongile Mlambo as Maya, Alexander Hodge as Philky, and James Roch as Cousin Donald.
Series creator Salim Akil recently told ComicBook.com that Khalil's story was part of his exploration of the "duality" of Black men.
"Well, 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," Akil said. "And I mean, Dubois talked about it. 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 CW's decision not to move forward with the Painkiller series marks the latest time an Arrowverse spinoff has not been picked up by the network. In January, the network announced that they would not be moving forward with the Arrow spinoff, Green Arrow and the Canaries. Like Painkiller, Green Arrow and the Canaries received a backdoor pilot as part of its "parent" series' final season.
Are you disappointed that The CW has opted not to move forward with Painkiller? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.