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Dwayne Johnson will finally get his own DC Comics movie

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It’s been nearly a decade since Dwayne Johnson told the world that he would play the DC Comics antihero Black Adam in one of Warner Bros. Pictures’ live-action movies, but given how much has happened in the studio’s superhero universe lately, it seemed safe to assume the project had slipped into development limbo.

And yet, nothing could be further from the truth, according to a new report that indicates Johnson will star in an upcoming solo movie featuring the character.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Johnson’s meeting last week with DC Films — which the actor posted a photo from on Instagram — involved some redefining of the Shazam! project that resulted in plans to develop both that superhero movie, which initially had Black Adam as its villain, and a separate, solo movie featuring the character.

The plan is now reported to involve developing two films concurrently, with Black Adam no longer expected to be the primary villain in Shazam! and instead to be featured in his own movie — one that presents him as more of an antihero character, similar to what he’s become in the DC Comics universe.

First introduced in 1945’s The Marvel Family #1, Black Adam is an Egyptian man given powerful magical abilities by a wizard, only to have his newfound power corrupt him. Initially presented as a clear-cut villain, Black Adam underwent a revision of sorts to his origin in recent years, and is now viewed as more of an antihero character, willing to protect the people of Egypt and his loved ones by brutal (and often deadly) force.

One of the most frequent foes of DC’s Captain Marvel (who is also known as Shazam) and his superhero family, Black Adam has powerful abilities that rival those of Superman and many of DC Comics’ top-level heroes. In recent years, veteran comics writer Geoff Johns — who serves as both the chief creative officer for DC Comics and the co-head of DC Films — helped reshape Black Adam’s back story and turn him into one of the publisher’s most popular antihero characters.

Given how much higher Johnson’s profile is now than it was back in 2008 when he was first attached to the Shazam! movie, it makes sense that the studio would lean toward giving him his own movie. However, Tom Hiddleston’s success as the trickster Loki in Marvel’s cinematic universe does establish some precedent for villains breaking out of single-movie roles.

There’s currently no screenwriter attached to the Black Adam movie, and the most recent draft of the Shazam! script is reportedly being penned by Earth to Echo writer Henry Gayden. That film was initially scheduled to premiere in April 2019, but that seems unlikely at this point. Nothing has been confirmed by Warner Bros. Pictures regarding Black Adam’s role in Shazam! or a solo movie at this point.

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