Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is officially ready to play his first superpowered comic book character in Black Adam, announcing a release date for the film: December 22, 2021.
In the DC Comics canon, Black Adam is traditionally a villain of Shazam and has similar powers to the hero—who was played by April 2019 Men’s Journal cover star Zachary Levi in the 2019 film of the same name. In recent years, Black Adam has been portrayed as more of an anti-hero and less of a full-on supervillain, which could be a clue as to how Johnson will play the character in the upcoming movie.
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The Man in Black Like most kids growing up, I dreamed about being a superhero. Having cool superpowers, fighting for what’s right and always protecting the people. It all changed for me, when I was 10yrs old and was first introduced to the greatest superhero of all time – SUPERMAN. As a kid, Superman was the hero I always wanted to be. But, a few years into my fantasy, I realized that Superman was the hero, I could never be. I was too rebellious. Too rambunctious. Too resistant to convention and authority. Despite my troubles, I was still a good kid with a good heart – I just liked to do things my way. Now, years later as a man, with the same DNA I had as a kid – my superhero dreams have come true. I’m honored to join the iconic #DCUniverse and it’s a true pleasure to become, BLACK ADAM. BLACK ADAM is blessed by magic with the powers equal to SUPERMAN, but the difference is he doesn’t toe the mark or walk the line. He’s a rebellious, one of a kind superhero, who’ll always do what’s right for the people – but he does it his way. Truth and justice – the BLACK ADAM way. This role is unlike any other I’ve ever played in my career and I’m grateful to the bone we’ll all go on this journey together. BLACK ADAM 12.22.21 Huge thank you to my friends, @jimlee and @bosslogic for this first time ever bad ass collaboration.
While technically this isn’t the first comic book character Johnson’s played—he appeared as Roadblock in 2013’s G.I. Joe: Retaliation—his role as Black Adam is the first traditional comic book role. Here’s what you need to know about Johnson’s upcoming Black Adam film.
As of now, only Johnson’s been cast. But with production starting in 2020, casting should heat up soon.
Johnson is Very Familiar With His Director
Johnson must have enjoyed working on the 2020 film Jungle Cruise, as he brought in his director on that film, Jaume-Collet Serra, to helm Black Adam. After the news was announced, Johnson wrote that he was “very impressed with [Serra’s] passion, work ethic, style, vision, tone and quality” on Jungle Cruise and that he’s “hungry to break new ground with BLACK ADAM and give the fans something very cool and special.” Larry Sher, who shot the billion-dollar-grossing Joker movie and Johnson’s Jungle Cruise, will serve as cinematographer.
Johnson’s Been Ready for the Role for a While
Johnson first signed to the role of Black Adam back in 2014 and a film has been in development for over a decade. It was expected that he’d appear in a Shazam! movie or another DC superhero film before getting his own. But in January 2017, New Line Cinema and DC Entertainment announced that Shazam and Black Adam would each star in their own respective blockbusters, with Johnson teasing that the movies would be full of “hope, optimism & fun.”
Black Adam Will (Most Likely) Crossover With Zachary Levi’s Shazam
With the characters being so closely connected in the comic books, it’s likely only a matter of time before Zachary Levi’s Shazam and Johnson’s Black Adam appear in a movie together. The Shazam! sequel is officially in development, although no release date has been set.
Black Adam Was Referenced Multiple Times in Shazam!
Even though Black Adam didn’t physically appear in Shazam!, the character was referenced multiple times in the movie. During the early part of the film, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) ends up in the Rock of Eternity room and learns from the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) about the powers of Shazam and the history of the Council of Wizards. The Wizard mentions that the Council once had a previous champion before Billy, but that he became corrupt and used his powers for revenge. That champion was Black Adam. The other reference is in a deleted scene, which shows Shazam (Levi) and his fellow Shazam family members taking their seats in the Rock of Eternity room, which has seven thrones. But only six are filled, leaving one empty… hinting that Black Adam is out there.
Here’s a look at the deleted scene:
Johnson’s Black Adam May Not Be a Total Supervillain
While the story of Black Adam is being kept under wraps, Johnson has hinted that his version of the character may not be a full-on bad guy, as he traditionally is in the comics. Producer Hiram Garcia, the production president at Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions, said in an interview with ComicBook.com: “Well, you’re going to meet a character who’s going through a journey. He was created as a villain. And through the love of the fans and through some great writers and storytellers, he evolved into an antihero. The antihero is a character that we always loved and that we responded to. But we understand that there’s been many aspects to Black Adam through him. And ultimately he is a guy that everything has always been driven by his family and what happens to them. And he is never opposed to unleashing hell when you cross him. So I think when you add in those elements of that DNA, those are things we’re very aware of.”
Like Shazam, Black Adam has some major powers bestowed on him through magic including superhuman strength, stamina, invulnerability, genius intellect, expert fighting skills, the power of flight, and the ability to control lighting.