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Trini

Spinoff: Painkiller

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Initial information from Deadline: https://deadline.com/2020/11/black-lightning-backdoor-pilot-spinoff-painkiller-the-cw-jordan-calloway-1234613688/

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Black Lightning is getting a spinoff, with the CW developing a backdoor pilot around the Painkiller character.

Painkiller will star Jordan Calloway, reprising his role as the eponymous character. The planted pilot spinoff will air as the seventh episode of Black Lightning’s fourth season, which will premiere in February 2021. Black Lightning showrunner Salim Akil will write, exec produce and direct.

It marks the first pilot based on a DC Comics character for this broadcast development season and is the CW’s latest planted pilot development. Last year, the network planted potential spinoffs of Arrow and The 100.

Calloway plays Khalil Payne, a 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 his. 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.

The Painkiller spinoff is from Warner Bros Television. Berlanti Productions, which produces Black Lightning and all other DC series, is not involved.

 

ETA:

 

Edited by Trini
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This could be interesting. Although, I also kinda wish they had the idea to spin off Thunder, then we'd maybe get a better story for Grace.

I wonder if this means Khalil will be leaving (LOL - for the fourth? time) mid-season?

It also sounds like he'll also still be playing two roles of Khalil and Painkiller. Struggling with a evil version of yourself can be compelling; I hope they delve into that, so that this show isn't just action.

Edited by Trini

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With the news that Black Lightning will end next season, it seems even weirder to me that they are choosing to spin off Painkiller, and not one of the more well-known comic characters from the show.

Hopefully, Akil isn't the type of showrunner to kill off people just because the show is finished; so that there's a chance that we will see some of the other BL characters show up in the spinoff -- if it goes to series.

I'm assuming that Akil's production company will also be in charge of the spinoff; so it will probably still film in Georgia.

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The CW president Mark Pedowitz did some press, and he gave a couple quotes regarding Painkiller:

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/how-the-cw-is-plotting-a-return-to-business-as-usual-during-a-pandemic

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So, you'll be focused largely on straight to series orders instead of pilot pickups this season?

We haven't seen a lot of development yet. Lost Boys and Maverick [ordered to pilot last year], because of what occurred, are back in contention as development, not because they got picked up to pilot last year. They're in the mix with many other things, including dramas from Ava DuVernay, Black Lightning spinoff Painkiller, Wonder Girl, PowerPuff Girls, The 4400. The scripts are coming in slowly. Right now, I've seen just a handful of scripts and I'm waiting for others to come in so I can make some decisions. They're in contention for how we pick up pilots or direct to series.

Last year, you went straight to series on Superman & Lois and Walker largely out of concerns that there could be a WGA strike. Why is this an attractive model for some development this year?

A lot of is dependent upon what we're dealing with in terms of production needs with ongoing series in a sense. The other is what's the economic impact. Bypassing pilots is short-term less money than going straight to series. We look at the economic impact and if we believe enough in these shows and that will determine the decision.

With two veteran shows — Supergirl and Black Lightning — ending, how much more room on the schedule do you anticipate you'll have? You're making straight to series decisions based on a slate that will have just gotten under way.

We'll have space for three or four shows for next season, 2021-22. We're sorry to see Supergirl and Black Lightning go, but we're happy to have Naomi, Wonder Girl and Painkiller in the hopper right now. From The CW-DC/Arrow-verse — whatever we're calling it these days! — I think we'll be OK for the next generation. The Flash is new leader with Arrow gone and we're hoping Superman & Lois and Batwoman step up there for a new grouping of shows.

 

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Sallim Akil's comments on Painkiller and the spinoff from here: https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/black-lightning-showrunner-talks-final-season-painkiller-spinoff-and-teases-ishmael

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... “With Khalil, I wanted to get into the idea of the duality of Black men,” Akil explains. “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?”

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... However, according to Akil, we will see more of the Pierce sisters in the Painkiller “backdoor pilot” airing as Episode 7 this season. “We're shooting the Painkiller pilot now,” Akil confirms. “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.” ...

 

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Casting for the potential spinoff:

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The cast for The CW’s Painkiller is coming together as the Black Lightning spinoff has added Sibongile Mlambo, Alexander Hodge and James Roch.

Painkiller is planned as a planted pilot spinoff that will air as the seventh episode of Black Lightning’s fourth season which is currently airing on The CW. Jordan Calloway will reprise his role as the titular character while Black Lightning showrunner Salim Akil will write, exec produce and direct. Mlambo, Hodge and Roch will assume their roles should Painkiller be greenlit for production.

 

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Mlambo is set to star as Maya, who is described as a “strikingly attractive woman yet is icy and mysterious”. She is a natural leader who immediately gives the impression that she is someone who expects results and is not to be messed around with.
 

 

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Hodge will step into the role of Philky, a “ruggedly handsome with long raven hair, ink art on his body, and one born from a strong Chinese lineage.” The character has had a rough history, who was once a homeless alcoholic from Gotham but now works as an inconspicuous bartender and an exceptionally gifted tech wiz helping Khalil.

 

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Rounding out the trip is Roch who will play Cousin Donald, 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 of talking perspective to others. There is a duality about Cousin Donald, which is why he understands Khalil better than others.

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Gotta say, these descriptions sound kinda ... rough. "Philky" worst of all; like a collection of tropes. Hopefully there are tweaks to the end product. They certainly know how they want them to look.

The bigger issue is we don't know how these characters relate to Khalil (and the Black Lightning universe); and nothing here is really telling me exactly what this spinoff show is going to be about. So far we only know that it centers on Khalil*, and the basic format is "vigilantes fight crime" ... plus a team? I think? I know it's early yet, but they need a strong hook for me to root for this (especially since they're moving away from Freeland and the Pierces), and there just isn't one.

*And it's yet to be seen if this character can carry a series; although I think Jordan is talented.

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4.07, "Painkiller", promo:

 

Looks like the only regulars involved in the backdoor pilot will be Anissa and Grace.

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"Painkiller", episode 4.07 synopsis:

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"Painkiller" -

PAINKILLER - Khalil Payne (Jordan Calloway) 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.

The episode was written and directed by Salim Akil (#407). Original airdate 4/12/2021.

 

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This doesn't really tell us anything more about what the show (or even this episode) will be about. It does describe the character.

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14 minutes ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

So Jen 2.0 will not be involved? Seems...odd.

We don't know that yet.

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1 minute ago, Trini said:

We don't know that yet.

But you were saying it looks like the only regulars involved were likely Anissa and Grace.

It seems like it would be weird if they don't have Jen in it since they were each other's first loves (and I don't remember how things were left between the two of them, since I skipped a bunch of episodes), but it also seems like it would be odd doing the "it's really Jen!" dance as well.

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45 minutes ago, Chicago Redshirt said:

But you were saying it looks like the only regulars involved were likely Anissa and Grace.

It seems like it would be weird if they don't have Jen in it since they were each other's first loves (and I don't remember how things were left between the two of them, since I skipped a bunch of episodes), but it also seems like it would be odd doing the "it's really Jen!" dance as well.

Sorry, I was talking about if this pilot goes to series, we don't know if Jen will be a part of it. Although Akil has said the Pierce sisters could show up. But from the promo for the backdoor pilot, it looks like only Anissa and Grace are the only ones involved.

We'll have to see how the episode goes, but it seems like they want this to be separate from Freeland and the Pierces, so I could see them breaking away from Jen being his primary love interest.

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https://tvline.com/2021/05/22/black-lightning-series-finale-preview-season-4/

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Salim Akil, the EP and creator behind Black Lightning, says he experienced a bittersweet goodbye while working on the finale, in part because he still doesn’t know if the network will greenlight the show’s potential Painkiller spinoff starring Jordan Calloway. But, he adds, he will know by Monday — the day before The CW reveals its 2021-22 slate.

 

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A little late, but a quote from Akil at KSiteTV:

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“I’m really excited about exploring youth. Painkiller is a much younger show. I’m excited about exploring the duality of the African-American male, and excited about the exploration of these very strong women that are in the show. I’m excited about every character, and everything about it. The possibilities to me are infinite with this character, so I’m excited about telling good stories,” he says.

 

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Series finale *spoilers* :

 

With Khalil getting the kill order removed - but also forgetting the Pierces - I feel like that twist does several things: a) takes care of the spinoff/Khalil having to refer to the Pierces/Freeland, thereby giving the would-be new show something of a clean slate going forward; and b) if you're a Khalil/Jen shipper, this leaves the door open to them meeting again and falling in love again; c) but primarily, with Jen literally off of his mind, there's no conflict when Khalil gets a new love interest. On the other hand, the Khalil/Painkiller relationship loses some tension since Khalil doesn't have to stop PK from killing the family.

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