In Season 2 of Black Lightning, we met Jennifer’s now ex-boyfriend Khalil Payne (played by Jordan Calloway) — a high school athlete with a promising future. But everything changed for Khalil after he was indefinitely paralyzed by a stray bullet and later killed by Tobias.
In Season 3, Khalil was resurrected by the ASA and implanted with a microchip that gave him superhuman abilities and transformed him into “Painkiller.” Although Jennifer ultimately saves the day and frees Khalil from his captors, there’s a dark side to him that he has no choice but to acknowledge, and now that viewers have received confirmation that Black Lightning has been canceled, fans are curious to know what will happen with his storyline.
Creators recently revealed that Episode 7 of Black Lightning will serve as a backdoor pilot for an upcoming spinoff in the works with Khalil Payne and his alter ego, Painkiller, as the lead. So, is Painkiller a bad guy or the hero of the spinoff?
Is Painkiller a villain?
Painkiller is the perfect example of a good guy gone bad, who later realized his mistakes and decided to make them right. Although Painkiller has a rough past, actor Jordan Calloway wants viewers to look beyond his rough exterior.
He explained, "With Black Lightning, we have more of a familial aspect that we're dealing with. In [the Painkiller pilot], you have that as well. But what I like [is] Painkiller dives into the psyche of a damaged Black man. You get to see, it's kind of the setup of if you were on an island with the person that you hated the most, how would you survive?”
He added, “That's what I love about Painkiller, where you have Khalil dealing with his other half of himself, the yin and the yang aspect of it. You get to see this journey where both of them are going to have to come to an understanding of one another. They don't get to just get rid of the other.”
Jordan previously described his character as an “anti-hero,” which means that Painkiller may not be entirely villainous in the upcoming spinoff. Although his character has drastically evolved over the last two seasons, the Black Lightning star made it clear that he has no problem playing the bad guy.
He explained sarcastically, “I miss playing the good guy. It is so hard playing the bad guy and having to beat everybody up. I mean being so strong, having some part of abs, and then showing those abs off. Getting to put baby oil on said abs is so hard (laughs). Is this work?”
Jordan added, “It’s a blast, I get to train with the Stunts team, and stunt coordinator Danny Le Boyer. Special shout out to my stunt double, Nikolas Pelekai. It’s a lot of fun playing the bad guy, and the episode where I am fighting so many different guys during the ASA training scene, we had two hours to film that. We had to do 10 different martial arts and we knocked it out of the park. So, I am loving playing Painkiller, shout out to the baby oil and the CGI.”
You can catch new episodes of the final season of Black Lighting Mondays on the CW at 9 p.m. EST.