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The Arrowverse grows as Black Lightning sets backdoor pilot for 'Painkiller' spinoff

By Josh Weiss
Jordan Calloway Black Lightning

Need something to ease that superhero discomfort? The CW has you covered. According to Variety, the network is developing a backdoor pilot for Black Lightning's Painkiller, played by actor Jordan Calloway.

The episode will air during the upcoming fourth season of the main series, with creator Salim Akil attached as writer, director, and executive producer. Calloway joined the show in Season 1 in a recurring role before he moving being bumped up to the status of main character in the sophomore installment.

After being used as a weapon by Tobias Whale and Agent Odell, Khalil Payne (aka Painkiller) leaves Freeland City and heads into a self-imposed exile in a new town: Akashic Valley. He just wants to find peace, "but peace never comes easy for men with pasts like his," writes Variety. "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."

Black Lightning #4 cover

This isn't the first time The CW has green-lit a backdoor pilot from its roster of DC-inspired shows. During the eighth and final season of Arrow, the network tested out a potential spinoff centered around the Canaries. It's unclear whether that project will be picked up with a full series order. The last update we got on the subject was in August, and the silence is becoming deafening.

Created by Tony Isabella and Eddie Newell in the mid-1990s, Painkiller gets his name from the ability to numb the senses of his enemies.

Season 4 of Black Lightning premieres Feb. 8, 2021.