Lightning is about to strike twice now that The CW is developing a backdoor pilot centered on Black Lightning‘s Painkiller character.
Painkiller will star Jordan Calloway, reprising his role as Khalil Payne, aka Painkiller, a super-enhanced killing machine and former member of Tobias Whale’s gang and a weapon of Agent Odell and the shadowy ASA. The pilot is scheduled to air as the seventh episode of Black Lightning‘s fourth season, which is expected to premiere in February 2021. In charge of the pilot is Black Lightning‘s own Salim Akil, who will direct, write, and executive produce the episode meant to launch the character’s solo exploits.
Here’s the official logline for Painkiller:
Khalil Payne is a young man ridden with the guilt of his troubled past from his former life in Freeland City, where, 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 Khalil Payne and Painkiller. As his violent, destructive history crashes his idyllic new beginning, Khalil is thrusted 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, Painkiller.
Created for DC by Tony Isabella with Eddie Newell, Painkiller made his comic book debut in Black Lightning Vol. 2 #2. Interestingly enough, the character was killed just two issues later, in the pages of Black Lightning Vol. 2 #4. Obviously, Black Lightning has given the character a much longer lifespan, and now that Calloway is gearing up for his own show, I suspect he’ll be bringing a lot more pain to the CW before long.