After many, many years of development, and plenty of starts and stops, Shazam! finally hit theaters this past weekend, and it's proving to be a big hit. Not only is it doing tremendously well with both critics and audiences, but it also just opened number one at the box office while exceeding expectations. Naturally there are already whispers about a potential Shazam! 2, but all of the buzz also has many people talking about another massive DC project: the Black Adam movie.
Dwayne Johnson has been attached to play the character for years - one of the great adversaries of Shazam - but it's never been clear exactly when the film would start to really come together. Now that David F. Sandberg's movie is out and proving to be excessively popular, however, Johnson has provided an update on Black Adam, and it will definitely get fans excited:
Those who know the comic books and the mythology of the comics of Shazam know that Shazam is connected to Black Adam. Black Adam is an anti-hero, or villain, who I cannot wait to play. I've been developing this, and it's been with me and my DNA for over 10 years now. We should start shooting that in about a year.
Despite the fact that he doesn't actually appear in the movie, Dwayne Johnson is credited as an Executive Producer on Shazam! via his Seven Bucks Productions shingle, and earlier today he posted a video on Instagram celebrating the new film's success. While discussing the long road that the project has taken, and discussing its popularity, he let slip his plans to start production on his Black Adam movie, which will apparently start filming in the first half of 2020.
This is obviously exciting, and it means that we will probably start hearing some big announcements about the feature very soon. After all, there are some key roles that still need to be filled, and that includes the person who will be sitting in the director's chair. The project does currently have a script in the works, with Adam Sztykiel (Due Date, Rampage) credited with the screenplay, but the identity of the filmmaker who will be bringing it to life has not yet been revealed. If this project really wants to see any forward movement, it's going to have to find somebody for that job first.
As Dwayne Johnson further explained in his social media post, there was originally a plan to introduce Shazam and Black Adam simultaneously in the same project, but complications arose in the creative process that prevented that from happening. Specifically, the project was trying to pack two full origin stories into one blockbuster, and it was felt by Johnson the filmmakers developing the movie that the feature was trying to do too much. As a result, the Black Adam part of the tale was put on the shelf, and Shazam was given some breathing room in a true blue solo movie. In the actors' own words,
This project, Shazam, we had some challenges and we took a risk. And that risk is, as we were developing this a few years ago, the challenges and the struggles that we were having and that was gnawing at my gut is that we were trying to tell two origin stories in one script.... The challenges were, as you guys can imagine, you're trying to tell two very big origin stories in the world of comic books of this DC universe. Two very important characters trying to tell both their origin stories in one script. I didn't think it was working. Finally I called up Warner Bros., Toby Emmerich, my good buddy who runs Warner Bros., and I said, 'Brother, we have to split these stories and make two different movies.' He said, 'You know what? It is a great idea and let's do it.'
Now that Shazam has been made and is proving to be successful, now it's apparently Black Adam's turn to be in the spotlight.
Created by Otto Binder and C. C. Beck back in 1945, Black Adam a.k.a. Teth-Adam in the comics was born in ancient Egypt, and initially seen as a potentially great hero by the wizard Shazam. He was granted powers because of this potential, however, things didn't exactly turn out as planned. Teth-Adam was corrupted, and after killing the Pharaoh installed himself as a fascistic leader, ultimately murdering swaths of people. As a result of this, the wizard becomes extremely wary about the prospect of sharing his powers again, and decides not to do so for more than a century.
If this sounds familiar, it's probably because you just saw a version of this story play out on the big screen this past weekend - albeit not specifically starring Dwayne Johnson. Audiences got to see a preview of this origin tale in Shazam!, as it was told using a light show projected by the wizard (Djimon Hounsou) in the Rock of Eternity when he is introduced to Billy Batson (Asher Angel).
You can watch Dwayne Johnson discuss his history with the project, and demonstrate his elation about the success of Shazam!, by clicking play on the embed below.
Dwayne Johnson is one of the most popular and productive actors currently working in the industry, regularly starring in three to four movies per year, and if everything goes according to plan it seems like Black Adam is going to be one of his films for 2021 (the same year as Matt Reeves' The Batman and James Gunn's The Suicide Squad) or possibly 2022 (the same year as Aquaman 2). We won't have a clearer understanding of exactly when it will get going until more pieces start to fall into place, but regardless of when it starts coming together we're just excited that it's actually happening.
Hopefully it won't be too long until we start learning more about the progress of Black Adam - and you can be sure that we will keep you updated with all of the details here on CinemaBlend as they become available. For now, though, be sure to head to your local theater and check out Shazam!, which is now being projected on screens all around the world.