The Rock Asked For Black Adam to Be Removed From ‘Shazam’
Dwayne Johnson has been attached to the character of Black Adam for a very long time. There are articles in the ScreenCrush archive going back to 2014, where The Rock was “confirmed” to appear in the first Shazam. But by 2017, it was decided to give the character his own movie, instead of including him as the antagonist in Shazam!
Speaking of that decision, Johnson spoke about it recently in an interview with Vanity Fair, where he revealed that it was very much his call and his desire to separate Black Adam from Shazam. Johnson said that when he got the early script for Shazam “it was a combination of Black Adam and Shazam: Two origin stories in one movie,” which he felt would “be doing Black Adam an incredible disservice.”
So Johnson himself lobbied to get his own Black Adam movie...
I made a phone call. I said, ‘I have to share my thoughts here. It’s very unpopular…’ because 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.’
Warner Bros. obliged, took him out of Shazam, and put a Black Adam solo movie in development. Now that film is finally coming to theaters. Was that the right call? We’ll see after we watch the movie and see how it does at the box office.
Based on the trailers, Black Adam looks like a fairly dark film, with the title character serving as this extremely grim avenger of wrongs — which stands in very stark contrast to the first Shazam! movie, which was a sweet coming-of-age story with a lighthearted DC comic hero (played by Zachary Levi) in the lead role. They might not have fit together. Or maybe the balance between the innocent Shazam and the cynical and vengeful Black Adam could have made a nice contrast! It’s impossible to say, especially before we see what Johnson does with his Black Adam.
Black Adam opens in theaters on October 21. Shazam! Fury of the Gods follows exactly two months later, opening on December 21.