Rather than be introduced in Shazam’s first movie, the DC Extended Universe’s creative leadership decided that Black Adam needed to star in his own feature first. However, Black Adam will be more than just Dwayne Johnson finally getting to play in the proverbial DC Comics sandbox; it’ll also mark the theatrical debut of the Justice Society of America, with the lineup consisting of Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Cyclone and Atom Smasher.
The Justice Society’s role in Black Adam is being kept shrouded in secrecy, but producer Hiram Garcia recently propped up the superhero team while he was teasing Dwayne Johnson’s eponymous character, who will unquestionably give these four heroes a run for their money. In Garcia’s words:
We are so excited to introduce the Justice Society, especially Hawkman who’s such a beloved character and one of those heroes who’s always meant so much to the DC universe. Having them play in the same sandbox as Black Adam is going to be fantastic, and for the already established fans of these characters I think they are going to be really excited to see what elements from classic story lines we take inspiration from as we bring these characters together. When you take a powerhouse like Black Adam and inject him into this DC cinematic universe you want to make sure you are putting characters around him that can really up the stakes. As DJ likes to say the hierarchy of power in the DC universe really is going to change so Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Atom Smasher and Cyclone will have their hands full no matter how we choose to have them interact with Black Adam.
While Black Adam started out as a Shazam adversary and still tangles with the superpowered Billy Batson frequently, he also has a unique rapport with the Justice Society thanks to Geoff Johns’ run on the JSA comic book. So there’s precedence for including Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Cyclone and Atom Smasher in the Black Adam movie, and considering that the JSA has existed since 1940, it’s about time that they finally get the cinematic spotlight.
During his interview with Collider, Hiram Garcia also mentioned that the specifics of how Black Adam will connect to the wider DCEU is still being worked out, but for now, the focus is on “building out this world we’re creating with Black Adam and the JSA.” Garcia has also been working closely with director Jaume Collet-Serra to craft set pieces that will properly show off Black Adam and the JSA members’ unique abilities.
While Dwayne Johnson has been officially attached to play Black Adam in the DCEU since fall 2014, in the late 2000s, he was being lined up to play the character in an earlier incarnation of Shazam!. So obviously this has been a long time coming, and once Johnson is done shooting Netflix’s Red Notice, then he’ll move to Black Adam. While specific Black Adam plot details haven’t been revealed yet, along with the main character fighting the Justice Society in what looks like the present day, we’ll also learn about his origins in ancient Kahndaq.
So far the only JSA member who’s been cast is Atom Smasher, who will be played by To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before star Noah Centineo. With Black Adam expected to begin filming in early 2021, ideally we’ll learn who’s playing Hawkman, Doctor Fate and Cyclone before 2020 is over. There have also been rumors about the JSA (who’ve already been explored in live action on Smallville, Legends of Tomorrow and Stargirl) potentially getting their own movie, though even if that’s true, I imagine Warner Bros will wait to see how Black Adam performs before deciding whether or not to pull the trigger on that project.
For now, Black Adam is still expected to hit theaters on December 22, 2021, but if that changes, we’ll be sure to let you know. Learn what other DC movies are in development with our comprehensive guide.