Ahead of the series finale of Black Lightning on Monday, The CW announced that the network was passing on the Painkiller spinoff. The spinoff, which had gotten a backdoor pilot as the seventh episode of Black Lightning's final season, had been announced last fall and would have seen Jordan Calloway star, continuing the story of Khalil Payne/Painkiller. Now, Calloway is breaking his silence about the news, taking a direct approach with fans in an Instagram video in which he said "Painkiller will not be going forward, so let's rip that band-aid off now."
Calloway also thanked fans for their support as well as the network and WarnerMedia for the opportunity before expressing how the project was a blessing even if this is where Painkiller's story ends.
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"This project has been nothing less than a blessing," Calloway said. "I can't put into words how grateful I am from the experiences that I've learned from, the relationships that I've made. It has been a blast. It has been phenomenal. So, as we lay this character to rest and we move on to the next chapter, I just wanted to say thank you guys, you are amazing."
While The CW passed on Painkiller, The Hollywood Reporter -- who first reported the news -- noted that Warner Bros. TV will be shopping the series to other potential homes, specifically noting HBO Max as a possibility.
Had Painkiller gone to series, it would have followed Calloway's Khalil Payne, 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, 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.
As for where Painkiller's story ends in terms of the overall Black Lightning story, fans will be able to tune into that series' finale Monday, May 24 at 9/8c on The CW.