The superhero movie conversation lately has focused on Spider-Man and the Marvel movie-verse, but Warner Bros. and its DC Comics characters have quite a few projects in the pipeline, too. One of the far-off films is Shazam, in which Dwayne Johnson will play the super-powered villain Black Adam opposite a still-unidentified star in the title role. While promoting his upcoming film San Andreas, Johnson teased that his character’s presence will likely extend beyond Shazam — and could very well pit him against some of DC’s heaviest hitters from the superhero side.
“It was all agreed that the worlds are all interconnected,” said Johnson in an interview with Total Film. “One day you will see Black Adam go at it with Superman or Batman or any of the DC characters. But that said, there’s a great independence to Black Adam from the DC world, allowing us to inject not only viciousness, but also winking humor.”
A former slave given magical powers, Black Adam was the predecessor to Captain Marvel — the hero now known as Shazam. After freeing his people, the tragic loss of his family caused Black Adam to run amuck in his quest for vengeance, and he eventually became one of Shazam’s greatest enemies. In recent years, the character experienced a bit of a redemption in the comics world and became a reluctant hero of sorts, fluctuating between a powerful force for justice and a ruthless dictator who will do anything (and kill anyone) to protect his homeland.
Given the way Tom Hiddleston’s Loki has been used across multiple films in Marvel’s cinematic universe, it’s easy to see the potential of a charismatic actor like Johnson spanning the DC movie-verse.
“I think Black Adam is going to grow into becoming an anti-hero,” added Johnson. “It’s all written within the spirit of respecting and paying homage to the comics. As we know, Black Adam started out as a slave. When he’s given the powers, he utilised them. Then in the wake of his powers, tragedy strikes, which turns his sentiment and tone in terms of psychology.”
The script for Shazam is being penned by Jack the Giant Slayer writer Darren Lemke, with the film scheduled to hit theaters April 5, 2019.