After a bumpy start, Warner Bros. and DC Films look to be getting their DC cinematic universe back on track. Aquaman is set to be released in theaters this December, Wonder Woman 2 has begun casting, and Shazam! is currently in the middle of filming. However, there are a few films that have been swept under the rug so to speak, namely Black Adam. The casting of Dwayne Johnson as the Shazam villain, Black Adam, was one of the very first things announced about the DC cinematic universe. Yet, as the years went by his character was neither shown nor mentioned in any film.
Many fans assumed he would be saved as the main villain for Shazam!. However, since that time David F. Sandberg was hired to direct Shazam!, Asher Angel and Zachary Levi were cast as Billy Batson/Shazam (Captain Marvel), Ron Cephas Jones was cast as the wizard Shazam and Mark Strong was cast as the villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. In January 2017, it was reported that Dwayne Johnson would feature as Black Adam in his own solo film before appearing in any other DC film. In October 2017, it was announced that Adam Sztykiel was hired as the screenwriter for Black Adam, with the report stating that Johnson would act as co-producer with Hiram Garcia, through their studio, Seven Bucks Productions. In December 2017, Johnson confirmed the story in an interview with ComicBook.com.
“I think they’ve got a great plan over there with him and I wish those guys the best of luck… We had to split the idea because the obvious idea was Black Adam and Shazam!. So we split it. Those guys are gonna do great with it.”
Since Walter Hamada was appointed as the president of DC Films a few rumors have circulated as to what will happen with the Black Adam character ranging from him being the main villain in the long-awaited sequel to Man of Steel to his character appearing in the Gavin O’Connor directed Suicide Squad 2. Nothing has been confirmed but seeing as Shazam! is already in production, I believe the best way Black Adam could still work is as a prequel set in Ancient Egypt.
Many avid comic book fans know that Black Adam did not start out as a villain but rather as Prince Teth-Adam of Kahndaq circa 1200 BC. During this time the wizard Shazam was the high priest to Pharaoh Ramses II of Egypt, Teth-Adam’s father. The wizard was seeking a champion worthy enough to inherit his powers and was impressed with Teth-Adam’s fairness and decency. He chose Teth-Adam and blessed him with the power of six Egyptian gods: Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, and Mehen whenever he spoke the name “Shazam”. Teth-Adam served Egypt for many years as a successful hero, but this duty often drew him away from his family. After his family was killed by the evil priest Ahk-Ton, Teth-Adam captures and kills the priest as retribution. Disillusioned, Teth-Adam returns to Khandaq and forcefully overthrows the government, appointing himself as sole ruler. The wizard Shazam became aware of these events and, thinking Adam had been corrupted, unleashed a powerful spell that trapped Adam’s soul and powers within a powerful scarab and rendered Adam’s de-powered body, now several hundred years old, a withered corpse. The wizard then buried both the body and the scarab in the tomb of Ramses II, where he had planned for it to remain for all eternity. In death, the former hero was referred to as “Khem-Adam” (“Black Adam”). The wizard would wait several millennia before appointing a second champion in Billy Batson.
There are so many reasons that this could work for the film. Black Adam’s backstory easily makes for a great stand-alone film. Save for the wizard Shazam and a few Greek gods, no other connections have to be made to the other films. Warner Bros. and DC Films have already proven that it can make a successful story set in the past as Wonder Woman, the studios most financially and critically successful film, was set during WWI. Dwayne Johnson is a proven financial powerhouse and franchise booster with his films earning over $2 billion USD in 2017. His name alone would sell this film, with its place DC cinematic universe only boosting its chances.
Shazam! is currently set to hit the theaters on April 5, 2019.
Are you excited for Shazam!? Would you like to see a Black Adam solo film? Leave your comments below!