Double the pleasure, double the fun? Dwayne Johnson recently revealed that he had a productive meeting with the folks at DC Comics to talk about his long-in-the-works starring turn as Black Adam in the DC Extended Universe, and it appears that one of the topics discussed at that meeting was giving the DC villain his own movie. Shazam, which has been on Warner Bros.’ tentative DC slate for a while now, will be split into two separate movies, per Deadline. One will focus on the titular hero, while Johnson’s villain Black Adam will get his own feature to topline.
In the comics, Shazam is also known as Captain Marvel and is a hero who first came to prominence in the 30s and 40s, at one time usurping the popularity of Superman. The character gets his powers via a transformation from his human form—Billy Batson—into a superpowered entity who can wield enormous strength, speed, and mental abilities. Warner Bros. will no doubt downplay the “Captain Marvel” moniker as Marvel Studios is already deep in development on an adaptation of its own separate superhero with the same name.
Black Adam, meanwhile, is Captain Marvel’s archenemy and sometimes antihero of the DC-verse. Johnson was given the choice of playing either Black Adam or Shazam way back when, and he chose to go the villain route, meaning Warner Bros. will soon be looking to cast a new DC superhero. The character’s original origin story portrayed him as an ancient Egyptian predecessor of Captain Marvel, but the origin was reconceived over the last decade or so to portray him more as an antihero.
This is a curious development as Warner Bros. continues to figure out how to craft its own DC Cinematic Universe. Things were on track for Batman v Superman to kick off a gloomy and serious world, but when fans and critics reacted strongly to Zack Snyder’s take, WB began rethinking its course. While Wonder Woman and Justice League are poised to be released this year, 2018’s The Flash hit a snag recently when director Rick Famuyiwa exited over creative differences. That setback means the film won’t be able to hit its projected production start-date (Ezra Miller is busy with Fantastic Beasts 2 this summer), so that leaves Aquaman as the studio’s sole 2018 release right now.
Will the Shazam and Black Adam movies now hit the fast track? Should they? We know the studio recently set David S. Goyer to co-write a Lethal Weapon-esque Green Lantern Corps, but even with so many irons in the fire, it still feels like the studio is trying to figure out the best way to proceed.