‘Power’ Creator Courtney Kemp on Doubters of Michael Rainey Jr.’s Ability To Carry Spinoff: ‘They Were Wrong’
[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for Power Book II: Ghost season 1 finale.]
Even though fans claimed they wouldn’t watch Power Book II: Ghost because they didn’t like Tariq’s character or think he could lead a show, the spinoff pulled impressive viewership. Following the finale, the creator and showrunner Courtney Kemp responded to those who doubted Tariq’s Michael Rainey Jr’.s ability to carry the spinoff.
‘Power’ fans initially claimed they wouldn’t watch spinoff
On the same day as the Power finale, Starz announced it greenlit four new spinoffs, including Power Book II: Ghost, which picked up immediately following the original series, Power Book III: Raising Kanan that documents the rise of the villain, Power Book IV: Force follows Tommy Egan as he leaves New York behind, and Power Book V: Influence revolves around governor hopeful Rashad Tate’s corrupt political world.
However, many fans initially claimed they would not watch the spinoffs as they had no interest in following anyone else’s story except Tommy.
Additionally, several viewers didn’t like how the finale ended and felt it only served as a segue for the spinoffs instead of properly wrapping the original Power story.
Other fans also claimed they didn’t like Tariq’s character because they felt he made dumb and unrealistic choices. In addition, some viewers noted they didn’t care for Michael Rainey Jr.’s acting and didn’t think he could carry a spinoff.
Michael Rainey Jr. leads ‘Power Book II: Ghost’
After the COVID-19 pandemic delayed filming, Power Book II: Ghost premiered nearly a year following its predecessor’s finale.
It followed the events after James St. Patrick’s murder and how Tariq navigates trying to save his family while attempting to get through college with at least a 3.5 GPA so he can receive his father’s trust money and assets.
Through his conquests, viewers are introduced to the criminal Tejada family, scorned lovers and professors Milgram and Jabari Reynolds, and re-introduced to old friend Brayden.
Although many fans insisted they would boycott the spinoff, it has pulled in respectable numbers, averaging around 500,000 viewers per episode for the first season.
Courtney Kemp on Michael Rainey Jr. doubters
By the finale of Power Book II: Ghost, fans saw Tariq go from a young teenager who got caught up in situations to an ice-cold killer who murdered his innocent professor.
In an interview with Deadline, creator Courtney Kemp commented on Rainey Jr.’s growth as an actor throughout the series.
She claimed that “some people” admitted they didn’t think the young actor could lead a show but knew “they were wrong” because she’s known Rainey Jr. since he was 11.
The showrunner also gave Kanan actor and executive producer Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson respect for helping Rainey Jr. transform into who he is now. She explained the two spent a lot of time together, especially when Kanan posed as “Slim” to get close to Tariq during the third season.
Additionally, she pointed out that the young performer has worked closely with other “great actors” such as Naturi Naughton, who portrays his mother, and Joseph Sikora, the man behind Tommy.
The creator also referred to Rainey Jr. as a “serious actor” and believes he’s “learning” from the accomplished performers he’s working with during the show. Power Book III: Kanan is expected to premiere in summer 2021.