Khalil”Painkiller” Payne was first introduced in season 1 of the Arrowverse’s Black Lightning and he is becoming his own backdoor pilot season 4. Black Lightning was revived in early 2020, but The CW canceled the series in November 2020. The news came as a small shock, particularly considering that superhero displays on the network have a tendency to air for a great deal longer than four seasons. Shortly after the announcement, a Black Lightning spinoff that was based on Painkiller was shown to be in the works.
The Painkiller spinoff will begin with a backdoor pilot meant to establish Khalil’s world outside the parent show and the episode will air during Black Dragon season 4. This tactic is similar to how Arrow attempted to start Green Arrow and the Canaries by using its penultimate season 8 episode to set up the characters and plot. While the latter never moved forward at The CW, the Painkiller spinoff has a shot at acquiring a series arrangement for the 2021-2022 TV season.
With the backdoor pilot fast approaching, here is everything you need to know more about the Painkiller episode that will set a potential spinoff, who is in the throw, and the way it will connect to Black Lightning.
Painkiller Backdoor Plot Details
Painkiller’s backdoor pilot was announced November 12, 2020, and will broadcast as the seventh installment in Black Lightning’s fourth season. The events of this episode will follow Khalil in the wake of his brainwashing at the hands of the ASA, an organization that resurrected his dead body and forced him to commit unspeakable acts of violence, including the murder of his mother. While Khalil was able to break out of the head control with the help of Jennifer Pierce, he struggled to deal with what he’d done and the mortal part of his programming.
The official synopsis reveals Painkiller has moved to a new town, Akashic Valley, to start fresh. While Khalil is haunted by his past, he’ll begin a rehabilitation process that will find him working towards justice instead of violent punishment. He will be doing all this while also working to balance both sides of himself following the events of Black Mirror season 3. The episode will be written by Black Mirror showrunner Salim Akil.
How It Connects To Black Lightning
Painkiller was through a very, well, painful ordeal during his time on Black Lightning. He began working with Tobias Whale after a shooting left him paralyzed from the waist down. A bio implant got him up and moving again, turning him into Painkiller. While all this information will certainly be imported into the backdoor pilot, the incident will actually pick up following Khalil leaves the ASA. However, the fact that the retractable pilot isn’t even put in Freeland implies that, like Painkiller himself, this potential spinoff is starting from scratch. Surely there will be some loose links to Black Lightning, but that which points to the backdoor pilot (and a possible series) being a standalone spinoff that will likely only mention its parent show. Nevertheless, it’s always possible for Jennifer Pierce (aka, Lightning) to make an appearance at some point.
Painkiller Spinoff Cast Revealed
Along with Jordan Calloway reprising his role as Khalil/Painkiller, he will be joined by three new additions: Sibongile Mlambo, Alexander Hodge, and James Roch. Mlambo will perform Maya, who is described as a mystical and remote pioneer. Hodge will portray Philly, who hails from Gotham City and has a shadowy past. Ultimately, Roch will play Cousin Donald, a medic and former Marine who will understand where Khalil is coming from.
The Black Mirror spinoff is the only place for a backdoor pilot at the moment, which will probably air at a certain stage in April 2021. If things go well, The CW could pick this up for a series order. If that occurs, the Painkiller show may be part of this 2021-2022 lineup on the community, perhaps even taking the place of Black Mirror’s 9 pm ET slot on Mondays. For today, fans can appreciate what the Painkiller backdoor pilot has to offer when it airs and hope it has a bright future in store.