It’s 2022 and the DC universe isn’t getting any more coherent. After failing to leverage the popularity of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy with two wildly different and equally division Superman movies, Warners launched the first of two 10-year plans to make a Marvel Studios happen. Unfortunately, after last week’s shakeupthat plan is still evolving (read: they’re starting from scratch, again).
However, before Warner Bros. Discovery can continue banishing what’s left of the SnyderVerse to the Phantom Zone, they still have a couple of movies to unload. The first is Black Adam, one of the more confusing additions. Years after Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson announced he would be playing Black Adam before teasing that he would be playing Shazam, he re-announced on Twitter that was Black Adam, Shazam’s nemesis, who has a similar power set and costume but a bad attitude. Then in 2019, an actual Shazam! movie starring Zachary Levi, who is most definitely not Dwayne Johnson, hit theaters.
But according to Johnson, the connection is more than a series of what-ifs. speaking to Vanity Fair (via The Hollywood Reporter), Johnson said that he was the one that suggested splitting the characters up in the first place. “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 said. “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.’”
“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 as well.’”
In January 2017, Johnson posted on Instagram that he just had a “very cool” strategic meeting with DC. He wrote, “As a hard core DC fan, to get a real sense of the tonal shifts and developments coming in these future movies has me fired up. Something we, as DC fans have all been waiting for for a very long time. Hope, optimism & FUN. Even when talking about the most ruthless villain/anti-hero of all time finally coming to life. Prepare yourselves DC Universe.” That does sound very cool.
We’ll determine whether Black Adam is also “very cool” when it hits theaters on October 21.