The CW's Arrowverse is losing its second show when Supergirl comes to an end in 2021, but now yet another spinoff is in the works to potentially widen the superhero world even more. Black Lightning's Khalil Payne -- a.k.a. Painkiller -- will get his shot at landing a solo series when the Arrowverse returns to the airwaves next year.
Khalil Payne's potential spinoff will launch with a backdoor pilot on Black Lightning that will air in the upcoming fourth season, according to Deadline, as the seventh episode. Black Lightning, which only recently made its official debut into the Arrowverse, returns with new episodes in February.
Jordan Calloway has been part of Black Lighting since early in Season 1, but is not so incredibly key to the Pierce family that the show will fall apart if he leaves to go star in his own spinoff. Khalil has already gone on a wild ride, starting with a severe spine injury, and his life only got more dramatic afterward.
He became the right-hand man of the show's main villain in exchange for the ability to walk again, but eventually regrets the alliance with Tobias. In his efforts to get out of the deal, he was seemingly murdered... until he turned up again inside a metahuman pod, having been resurrected by the A.S.A. and built into a cybernetic assassin. So, how does this set up a potential spinoff?
Khalil's reported decision to distance himself from those he knows and loves will take him to Akashic Valley, but attempting to bury the deadly Painkiller part of him doesn't result in an easy life in the new city. He'll be forced back into action when his dark past collides with what was supposed to be a new peaceful reality, but he won't be doling out punishment this time. He'll work to deliver justice, despite the darkness.
The potential spinoff is currently only in the development stage as a backdoor pilot, so there is no guarantee at this point that the Khalil-centric spinoff will get a series order. After all, another Arrowverse series debuted a backdoor pilot in 2020, and the Arrow spinoff still hasn't received a series order, and answers to those cliffhangers might have to come in another form. Similarly, The 100 aired a backdoor pilot earlier this year, with no series order to show for it either.
That said, the Green Arrow and the Canaries spinoff pilot aired as part of Arrow's last season and was set in the future, which would mean few if any chances for crossovers with the rest of the Arrowverse barring Legends of Tomorrow and maybe The Flash, if Barry was to start dabbling in time travel again. The Khalil-centric backdoor pilot will air when there is no sign that Black Lightning will end anytime soon, and will presumably stay in the same timeline as most of the rest of the Arrowverse.
Besides, the end of Supergirl could mean an opening in the lineup. If Superman & Lois is arguably filling the void left by Arrow, why can't the Black Lightning spinoff fill the Supergirl void down the road? Now that Black Lightning officially shares a universe with the likes of The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, and the rest courtesy of the game-changing "Crisis on Infinite Earths" crossover, a Khalil spinoff debuting for the 2021-2022 TV season would take the post-Supergirl Arrowverse back up to six shows.
For now, fans can just look forward to the return of Black Lightning on Monday, February 8 at 9 p.m. ET on The CW. For more Arrowverse premiere dates (and others), be sure to check out our 2021 winter and spring premiere schedule.