First news of The CW's pick-up plans for the fall 2021 season arrived today including news that the planned Black Lightning spinoff Painkiller had been passed over by the network. In their write-up on the news, The Hollywood Reporter brought word that Warner Bros. TV will be shopping the series around to other potential homes with the trade noting that "HBO Max could be a possible destination" for the series. Painkiller wasn't the only series not picked up by The CW though with Our Ladies of Brooklyn, described as "a dramedy about two millennial nuns" was also passed on by the network.
It's unclear if the WarnerMedia streamer will pick up the show however, and it's not a guarantee that a Warner Bros. TV series would immediately be picked up by HBO Max just because they live under the same umbrella. Earlier this month came word that the WBTV produced series Prodigal Son had been cancelled at FOX and while the producers sought out a new home for the series, targeting HBO Max as a first, it was revealed last week that the streamer had passed on the option to pick up the show.
It was previously reported that the Painkiller would follow 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.
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.