The biggest problem with attempting to plan out a massive cinematic universe in the mold of Marvel is that you have no idea what changes could be on the horizon. Sony, for example, might send Spider-Man back to your universe. Or, if you are the Fast & Furious franchise, you might lose a cornerstone like Paul Walker. DC and Warner tried to catch up with Marvel and Disney recently by mapping out their movie plans through 2020, but comments by The Rock have us thinking that changes may be on the way.
While out promoting his upcoming blockbuster San Andreas, the media savvy Rock has been fielding questions about Black Adam, the anti-hero that he’s expected to play opposite the Shazam movie that has been pegged for 2019. Except, when a reporter complained about having to wait that long to see the massive movie star assume the role, Dwayne Johnson clarified:
To be fair, The Rock has suggested this before, mentioning to the press during his Furious 7 push that he’d play Black Adam before 2019. We speculated, at the time, that he might have meant a cameo in the planned Justice League movie, scheduled for 2017. But what if The Rock’s comments point to a greater seismic shift than that?
Right now, according to preliminary plans, the DC Cinematic Universe has Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad in play for 2016. Both of those films are far along in their respective process. Those movies are happening on the dates that have been announced.
After that, it gets far more unpredictable. Warner Bros. announced both Wonder Woman and the first Justice League for 2017. They circled 2018 for The Flash and Aquaman. And then Shazam is down for 2019 (in addition to the second part of the Justice League movie). But there hasn’t been a lot of official movement on any of the DC movies beyond 2016. In fact, Wonder Woman made headlines because it LOST its director over creative differences, and while Michelle MacLaren was replaced by Patty Jenkins, that doesn’t mean the project is instantly right back on track.
Dwayne Johnson’s comments are damn close to definitive. "It’s going to be earlier than that," he says, while looking up to the sky and contemplating what he can reveal (or HOW he can reveal it). This is a man who is privy to his own schedule, and has to know when he will be filming a blockbuster like Shazam. Currently, The Rock is one of the biggest action movie stars on the planet. He even says in the video (below) that he has been working on Black Adam for 8 years. What if he said to Warner that he’s still in, but they have to make it happen sooner than 2019. Wouldn’t they rearrange the deck to make that happen? Wouldn’t you?!
Here is The Rock’s statement in context. How definitive does this sound to you?
DC has some flexibility, as far as we know. We’re not 100% sure what the timeline of the story in play is supposed to be. Maybe Wonder Woman and The Flash absolutely need to take place before Shazam in whatever grand scheme the studio has on its superhero white board. But if The Rock is telling us, yet again, that we won’t have to wait until 2019 to see him play Black Adam opposite a yet-to-be-cast Shazam, I’m more than willing to believe it.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.