When a Shazam! movie was first being mooted and developed, around 2014, it was originally intended to be the origin story of both Black Adam and Shazam in one movie. And Dwayne Johnson even signed on to star in it. But Johnson ended up resisting this mash-up of the two characters, as he says it would have been a disservice to Black Adam.
The DCEU has not exactly been known for taking the easy or straight-forward path when it comes to handling its characters – whether they’re already well-known and established, or more under-the-radar. While Henry Cavill’s Superman got an origin story in Man of Steel, both Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman were introduced in Batman v Superman (2016).
This is probably the kind over-crowded situation that Johnson was trying to avoid, especially because Black Adam is an obscure comic book character, so he’s being introduced to the vast majority of the audience from scratch. Speaking to Vanity Fair recently, Johnson says; “When the first draft of the movie came to us, it was a combination of Black Adam and Shazam – two origin stories in one movie.”
Johnson continues; “Now that was the goal—so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But when I read that, I just knew in my gut, ‘We can’t make this movie like this. We would be doing Black Adam an incredible disservice.’ It would’ve been fine for Shazam having two origin stories converge in one movie, but not good for Black Adam.”
“I made a phone call,” Johnson says. “I said, ‘I have to share my thoughts here. It’s very unpopular…’ because everybody thought, ‘Hey, this script is great, let’s go make this movie.’ I said, ‘I really think that you should make Shazam! Make that movie on its own in the tone that you want. And I think we should separate this (Black Adam) as well.”
After much delay, Black Adam will finally have his time to shine in October 2022. Johnson has continually emphasised that Black Adam is an anti-hero who is on a vengeful rampage, and doesn’t hesitate to exact violence, murder or anything else he deems necessary.
While we wait for Black Adam, check out our guide to the best Batman actors, ranked.