Over the next year, The CW's Arrowverse will see itself going through a series of serious changes, with the addition of shows like Superman & Lois as well as pilots for Jordan Calloway's Painkiller, Wonder Girl, and Ava DuVernay's Naomi. Unfortunately, those changes also mean saying goodbye to the possibility of a "Green Arrow and the Canaries" series as well as to the long-running series Supergirl and Black Lightning. When it comes to the latter, viewers were given the heads-up before the new year that a backdoor pilot for Painkiller was set up for the seventh episode and that China Anne McClain aka Jennifer Pierce aka Lightning was set to be phased out of the series before it wraps. Now they're getting a look at the title of the final season-opener as well as a brief overview of where things stand as narratives begin to converge towards the series finale. Even the overview has that feel of "moving on" to it- and that's only the first episode. But is it the beginning of the end- or the beginning of something entirely new? Viewers will find out when the series returns on Monday, February 8, to The CW:
Black Lightning Season 4, Episode 1 "The Book of Reconstruction: Chapter One": SEASON PREMIERE – Jefferson Pierce (Cress Williams) is still mourning the death of his long-time friend Detective Henderson. Meanwhile, Gambi (James Remar) is presented with an interesting opportunity. Lastly, Lynn (Christine Adams) and Jefferson are still not able to see eye to eye. Nafessa Williams, China Anne McClain, Marvin Jones III and Jordan Calloway also star. The episode was written and directed by Salim Akil.
"When we first started the 'Black Lighting' journey, I knew that Jefferson Pierce and his family of powerful Black Women would be a unique addition to the superhero genre," said executive producer Salim Akil in a statement when news of the series ending was first announced. "The love that Blerds and all comic book fans around the globe have shown this series over the past three seasons proved what we imagined, Black People Want To See Themselves in all their complexities."
Akil continues, "Thank you to the phenomenal cast, writers, and crew without whom none of this would've been possible. I'm incredibly proud of the work we've been able to do and the moments we've been able to create in bringing DC's first African-American family of superheroes to life for the culture. I'm very grateful to Peter Roth, Warner Bros. TV, Mark Pedowitz, The CW Network, and Greg Berlanti for their partnership and support of my vision at every step of this journey. While Season Four may be the end of one journey, I'm extremely excited to usher in a new chapter and continued collaboration with The CW as we tell the story of Painkiller."
In the backdoor pilot for the potential spinoff series, Calloway's Khalil Payne is a young man riddled with guilt over 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 (Marvin Jones III) gang and a weapon of Agent Odell (Bill Duke) 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… or Painkiller. As his violent, destructive history crashes his idyllic new beginning, Khalil is thrust 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 CW's Black Lightning and the Painkiller pilot are produced by Berlanti Productions, Akil Productions, and DC Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Television. Based on characters created for DC by Tony Isabella with Eddy Newell, the Painkiller character first appeared in comic book form in 1995.