This year is set to serve as a significant turning point for Black Lightning, as the series has begun airing its fourth and final season on The CW. Even with the flagship series ending, the world of Black Lightning could live on in a major way, with a spinoff surrounding Jordan Calloway's Painkiller currently in the works. Painkiller is expected to be teased as a backdoor pilot in the seventh episode of Black Lightning's final season -- and now we know who will have a role in telling that story. On Tuesday, The CW announced that Sibongile Mlambo, Alexander Hodge, and James Roch are all set to star in Painkiller, should the series be greenlit for production.
Mlambo, whose filmography includes Lovecraft Country and Roswell, New Mexico, is set to star as Maya. Maya is described as a "strikingly attractive woman yet is icy and mysterious," and "a natural leader who immediately gives the impression that she is someone who expects results and is not to be messed around with."
Hodge, whose work includes Insecure and Modern Family, will play Philky, a "ruggedly handsome [man] with long raven hair, ink art on his body, and one born from a strong and honorable Chinese lineage." Philky was once a homeless alcoholic from Gotham but now works as an inconspicuous bartender and an exceptionally gifted tech wiz helping Khalil.
Roch, whose career includes The Night Shift and Tyler Perry's A Madea Christmas, will play Cousin Donald, who is described as a "larger-than-life, gentle giant who wears a distinct uniform – head-to-toe leather with matching boots – a juxtaposition of his military past." He was a medic in the Marines and knows medicine well but also has the ability to talk perspective to others. There is a duality about Cousin Donald, which is why he understands Khalil better than others.
Painkiller will be written, directed, and executive produced by Black Lightning creator Salim Akil.
"With Khalil, I wanted to get into the idea of the duality of Black men," Akil explained in an interview earlier this month. "How, in some cases, you're one person in one area of your life and you have to be another person. I'm trying to figure that out with this character: how do you bring those two parts of you together without sacrificing who you truly are?"
Akil also teased that the series would be a true spinoff if it got picked up by The CW, featuring cameo appearances from Black Lightning's Anissa Pierce/Thunder (Nafessa Williams) and Jennifer Pierce/Lightning (China Anne McClain).
"We're shooting the Painkiller pilot now," Akil said. "We fully intend for it to be a spinoff. I know that if Painkiller gets picked up, you'll probably see [the Pierce sisters] in there."
What do you think of the newest cast members for The CW's potential Painkiller spinoff? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!