A crackle of lightning in the distant darkness gives way to EXCITING news on the DC front. Aside from the announcement of Zachary Levi’s (Heroes Reborn, Tangled) casting as the titular hero, followed by Asher Angel (Andi Mack) as Billy Batson, and rumors that Mark Strong (Kingsman) has been tapped to play the villainous Doctor Sivana—the latest and juiciest morsel is that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may make an appearance in Suicide Squad 2 as BLACK ADAM!!
Not familiar with Black Adam or his origins? Look no further! During the times of ancient Egypt, warrior Teth Adam was chosen by the council of wizards (powerful beings that presided over all magic) as their champion and granted him the powers of Shazam; super strength, flight, invulnerability, super speed, a healing factor and the ability to throw lightning bolts just to name a FEW! Unfortunately, Adam’s newfound abilities corrupted his once noble heart, driving him to betray the council and go the way of the dark side. After a climactic battle, Black Adam was imprisoned in a temple guarded by a magical spell for thousands of years. Now fueled by arrogance, Black Adam is FREE again—and will stop at nothing to dominate over ALL magic and destroy anyone brave enough (or foolish enough) to stand in his way. As his motto goes “kneel at my feet, or be crushed by my boot.” Yeesh—this guy’s got some serious issues, but hey, that’s what has made him a fan favorite villain for years! Especially against the likes of Billy Batson a.k.a. SHAZAM! The NEWEST champion of magic!!
So what’s the latest on the DC rumor mill? Well for an appetizer, the insiders at TheWrap claim that Johnson’s Black Adam would serve as a supervillain MacGuffin for DC’s affable (but deadly) good guys for hire. But looking back at Black Adam’s murderous track record coupled with God-like powers to boot—their mission won’t be easy. “The current plan for the sequel is for the members of Suicide Squad to be tasked with tracking down a weapon of mass destruction. That weapon? Black Adam himself!”
Though some sources claim that Johnson’s screen time is “a glorified cameo” for director Gavin O’Connor’s villain sequel, while others say Black Adam shines (or in his case darkens) as the main antagonist, one things for sure, the man LOOKS the part and has the acting chops to pull off a Black Adam that’ll get hungry comic fans cheering.
And to sweeten the sorbet even more, Johnson recently teased on the villain’s current whereabouts, telling Fandango “We have a really cool surprise for Black Adam that I can’t reveal, in terms of where we will see Black Adam being introduced.” Some say the leader of Khandaq is poised to appear in James Wan’s Aquaman set to debut next year. Yet, when IGN asked about the rumblings of a slugfest between Black Adam and Henry Cavill’s Superman back in May 2016, Johnson promised that “one fine day… that’s coming. That’s in the cards.” So ultimately, time will tell—but foaming fans just want to see Johnson suit up and take flight as the mainstream villain! After all, Johnson has gone on record stating that Black Adam is (and always has been) his favorite character of ALL time!
“The best part of Black Adam, for me, is my ideas of heroes are always heroes that are a bit flawed and I’ve never played a superhero before. So, this is my first time playing a superhero from a comic mythology. But the cool thing is with Black Adam is he’s an anti-hero! And his core comes from being a SLAVE! And when you have that foundation, I think, as a hero—you weren’t born into greatness—HE wasn’t born into greatness like most superheroes generally are. He was born in a humble way.”
So, what does this mean for the future of the DCEU? Well for starters, gaining the star-power of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is certainly a tremendous leap for the faithful, given that Black Adam is known widely among comic fans but not as much for the average Joes and Josettes off the street. Johnson’s Black Adam will gain legitimacy for the character and strengthen the foundation the DCEU is laying for its heroes. Or in Black Adam’s case—villains!
And for the main entrée, it makes sense for Black Adam to make his villainous debut in Suicide Squad 2 since it can easily segue to Black Adam’s own solo film. And since we’re living in the age of shared universes, Black Adam (like Marvel’s Loki), can have his own character arc through appearances in other DC films. Let’s face it, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson labeled Black Adam as “the most intriguing superhero” since the man literally went from slave, to champion, to villain, to anti-hero, to Khandaq’s dictator through a treasure trove of arcs that made his evolution so interesting. (FYI, Black Adam was even a member of the Justice Society of America at one point!) Now that Black Adam film has found its screen writer in Adam Sztykiel (Rampage), it’s clear that Warner Bros. is flyin’ ahead at the speed of Mercury to get Black Adam (and the rest of team Shazam) off the ground and into the stratosphere.
So for a sweet dessert round I’ll end this article by saying—yes comic nerds, it’s a GREAT time to be a Shazam fan! With more juicy tidbits pouring in it looks like Warner Bros. and DC are serious about taking Black Adam and Shazam to a whole new level of prominence and success. And from the looks of things, they are making the RIGHT artistic decisions for Shazam’s mythology to be taken seriously and praised again. For fledgling comic fans, one can say it’s wholly gratifying, but for long-time purists (like this ol’ writer here), these guys are not only the stuff of legend—they’re family. To me, they’re real people with noble hearts, magical powers, a sense of wish fulfillment and REAL heroism harkening from a Golden Age. So until next time, I’ll sign off on a hopeful note that the expanding news of the ever-growing Shazam universe just keeps getting brighter and BETTER!!
To Be Continued Comic Fans! And NEVER The End!