‘Black Lightning’ Spinoff Adds Insecure’s Alexander Hodge, Two More to Cast

The CW’s Black Lightning spinoff Painkiller is already turning heads for its latest casting choices, with Alexander Hodge slated to play a complicated bartender in the series’ pilot.

Hodge, an Australian actor best known for his role as Andrew aka Asian Bae on the HBO dramedy Insecure, will co-star as Philky, a character described as “ruggedly handsome with long raven hair, ink art on his body, and one born from a strong Chinese lineage,” our sister site Deadline reports. Philky also has a dark past that includes alcoholism and homelessness in Gotham. But now that he’s clean, Philky is using his tech skills to help Khalil/Painkiller (Jordan Calloway) while moonlighting inconspicuously as a barkeep.

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In addition to Hodge, Painkiller has added actors Sibongile Mlambo (Siren, Lost in Space) and James Roch (The Night Shift) to its cast. Mlambo will co-star as Maya, a strikingly attractive natural leader who is not to be trifled with and expects results. Roch, meanwhile, will portray Cousin Donald, a gentle giant who wears head-to-toe leather in contrast to his uniform in the Marines. Cousin Donald is also a medic and has a duality that helps him better relate to Khalil than most.

Painkiller, a backdoor pilot that will air as the seventh episode of Black Lightning‘s current (and final) fourth season, comes from showrunner Salim Akil, who will also executive-produce, write and direct. Episode 7 is currently being shot, Akil confirmed to TVLine. Calloway, Hodge, Mlambo and Roch will resume their roles if Painkiller lands a series order. (Season 4 of Black Lightning will wrap with 13 episodes.)

“It’s been a blessing to do what we do,” Akil tells TVLine regarding Black Lightning, while anticipating a future for Painkiller. “Would we like to continue to do it with the Pierces? Yeah, we would. But we’ll create it in another way.”

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