It’s rare that a super villain matches or exceeds the level of popularity the hero they regularly fight has, but Black Adam has been one of those exceptions ever since he was re-imagined as more of an anti-hero in the modern era. In fact, it’s gotten to a point where there’s arguably been more progress on adapting Black Adam for the big screen than his nemesis, Shazam (or Captain Marvel for the old-school fans out there). More than two years after Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was confirmed to be playing Black Adam, it was announced in January that the Kahndaqian would star in his own movie. Originally the plan was for Black Adam to be introduced in the Shazam movie, but according to Johnson, somewhere along the way it was decided that the better approach was for both characters to be introduced separately and then come together later on. As he put it:
We’ve had great discussions with Geoff Johns over at DC. This is a really fun, cool time for DC right now because they’re world-building. We’re seeing that with Wonder Woman and Aquaman. We have a few surprises down the line. So what we decided to do was to create a scenario where Black Adam has his stand-alone movie, and Captain Marvel, Shazam, has his stand-alone movie. We’re building our world that way, and then we can come together at some point.
During The Fate of the Furious‘ world premiere, Dwayne Johnson briefly spoke with MTV about what’s happening with the Shazam-centric portion of the DCEU. While he didn’t saying anything about if anyone’s been cast yet as the World’s Mightiest Mortal, he instead talked about about world building and how the higher-ups at DC decided that it was better for Black Adam to receive a solo introduction rather than clash with Shazam right away. The only other thing Johnson had to say about his upcoming DC movie is that it will be “fucking awesome,” so as for what these “surprises” are that he hinted at, that’s anyone’s guess for now. Could one of them have to do with battling Superman?
Although Black Adam started out as a traditional antagonist when he made his comics debuted in 1945, since the start of the 21st century he’s been depicted as a man who fights for what he sees as justice in both his homeland Kahndaq and in other areas of the globe. His methods are just more brutal than what you’d expect compared to members of the superhero community. It’s this version of Black Adam that Dwayne Johnson has been saying we’ll see in the DCEU, so ideally that will make him a compelling main character in his movie. That being said, it will still be great when we finally see Black Adam and Shazam go head to head in live action, just like the DC Comics gods intended.