The CW announces that the Black Lightning spinoff, Painkiller, won’t move ahead — with Jordan Calloway consoling fans and expressing his gratitude.
The CW has announced that the Black Lightning spinoff centered on the Painkiller character won’t be moving forward. Premiering in 2018, the DC Comics-inspired series starred Cress Williams as the titular superhero. More officially joining the Arrowverse during the Crisis on Infinite Earths event, Black Lightning ultimately ran for four seasons. Prior to its final episode, a backdoor pilot was commissioned for a potential spinoff. With actor Jordan Calloway reprising, the episode focused on Khalil Payne (a.k.a. Painkiller — serving as the Arrowverse’s first antihero-led series) and his adventures in Akashic Valley.
Despite a warm reception from critics and a passionate response from fans, Deadline reported that The CW passed on greenlighting a full Painkiller series. The news understandably hit fans especially hard, since it arrived on the same day of Black Lightning‘s series finale. In response to the announcement, Calloway himself took to social media to address the situation and thank everybody — from the cast and crew to the supportive fans. Check out the video below:
Painkiller wasn’t alone in not making the cut. It was also announced that Our Ladies of Brooklyn was similarly passed over. Conversely, All American: Homecoming and fellow DC Comics series, Naomi, were given full series orders. The fates of the Powerpuff Girls reimagining and the Nancy Drew spinoff centered on Tom Swift remained up in the air. Still, the Black Lightning news will likely still be a sore point for fans — especially since Painkiller was a solid Arrowverse replacement for Oliver Queen.
Black Lightning and Painkiller was developed by Salim Akil. Officially concluding on May 24, 2021, the series also starred China Anne McClain and Laura Kariuki as Jennifer Pierce (a.k.a. Lightning), Nafessa Williams as Anissa Pierce (a.k.a. Thunder/Blackbird), Christine Adams as Lynn Stewart, Marvin “Krondon” Jones III as Tobias Whale, Damon Gupton as Bill Henderson, Chantal Thuy as Grace Choi, and James Remar as Peter Gambi. With the Arrowverse set to continue, however, there’s still a chance Painkiller and other Black Lightning characters could re-emerge and enjoy further adventures one day.
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