Black Adam and Shazam were initially supposed to make their DC debut as a villain-hero team-up, but it was Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson who kept them apart.
“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 told Vanity Fair. (opens in a new tab). “That was the goal, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But when I read that, I knew in my gut, ‘We can’t do this movie like this. We would be doing incredible damage to Black Adam. It would have been nice for Shazam to have two origin stories converge into one movie, but not for Black Adam.”
Black Adam made his first appearance in Fawcett Comics’ 1945 Marvel Family #1, as an intended sole villain. After DC bought out several of Fawcett’s characters, Black Adam became Shazam’s main archenemy (in the style of Batman and the Joker). While it would make sense to put both characters in a debut film, Johnson is right: Black Adam has a slightly more complicated backstory that could be confused in a joint origin story type of movie.
“What makes Black Adam unique and different is that he also lives by a code,” Johnson explained to Total Film in the new issue, which features Black Adam on the cover. “If you try to harm his people, his family, his country, or him, he will rip you in half. He will literally grab you by the neck, then grab you by the thigh and split your body in two.”
Black Adam hits theaters on October 21, 2022. For more, check out our list of all the upcoming superhero movies coming in 2022 and beyond.