Dwayne Johnson is certainly one of the busiest and most in-demand performers in Hollywood, which is why it’s such a surprise that he still hasn’t starred in a major superhero franchise yet. It’s not for lack of interest, as Johnson has actually been attached to potentially be a part of the DC Extended Universe since 2014. Johnson was given the choice of playing either the hero Shazam or the villain/antihero Black Adam, and he chose the latter. But as Warner Bros. has adjusted and solidified its plans for the DCEU in the wake of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, the plans for Shazam have also changed.
A report surfaced in January that Warner Bros. was considering splitting Shazam into two movies—one focusing on Black Adam, and one focusing on Shazam. And in a new interview with MTV, Johnson confirms that is indeed the case:
“We’ve had great discussions with Geoff Johns over there at DC. This is a really, really fun, cool time for DC right now because they’re really in a process of truly world building, and building out. We’re seeing that with Wonder Woman and Aquaman, and we have a few surprises down the line. So what we decided to do was actually create a scenario where Black Adam is having his standalone movie, Captain Marvel/Shazam will have his standalone movie, and then we’re building our world up that way and then we can come together at some other point.”
It certainly sounds like Black Adam and Shazam are being treated as separate heroes/characters in the DCEU, with plans to have them go up against each other still a ways off. But Johnson also teases that we’ll know more about Black Adam soon:
“We have a surprise for Black Adam coming up. I can’t tell you what it is, but it is gonna be… it’s gonna be fucking awesome.”
Johnson’s slate is packed at the moment. He’s about to start shooting Rampage, then he’ll roll on into filming the high-concept blockbuster Skyscraper, and he just announced that Disney has given Jungle Cruise the greenlight to tentatively start filming in Spring 2018—assuming they find a director. And that’s not to mention the other potential projects percolating like San Andreas 2 and Doc Savage with Shane Black, but Warner Bros. no doubt wants to make Johnson an official part of the DCEU as soon as possible, so it wouldn’t be shocking to see Black Adam gear up for that production slot after Johnson finishes Jungle Cruise for release in 2019 or 2020.
The actor certainly seems excited about this character and the DCEU as a whole, so it’ll be interesting to see how Black Adam fits into Warner Bros.’ overall plans. This year brings us Wonder Woman and Justice League, but beyond Aquaman and The Batman, WB’s plans are far from firm. Don’t be shocked to see Johnson’s Black Adam arise as a major part of the DCEU in a couple years’ time.