At today’s Black Adam panel at DC FanDome, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared our first insights into his long-simmering Black Adam movie, a sequel of sorts to 2019’s Shazam!, including his more virtuous foes: the Justice Society.
“Black Adam has been with me for a very long time,” Johnson said, referencing the many years the film has been in preproduction. “One of the main things I always loved about Black Adam is that he was an anti-hero [...] I love that he has his own sense of Black Adam justice. I also love the fact that his origins are that of a slave [...] he felt the burdens and the pressures of a larger entity holding him down until you can’t take it anymore.”
Johnson said that that origin informs how Black Adam delivers his ruthless style of justice.
The movie will also introduce the Justice Society of America to the big screen for the first time, with Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher, who will go on a “journey of what it means to be a superhero. He gets to see someone like Black Adam who takes a different approach,” according to the actor.
Following closely along with his comic book counterpart, concept art shown during the Black Adam panel establishes that was enslaved in the desert nation of Khandaq, and was granted the power of the Wizard Shazam, just like Billy Batson in the modern day. Then he was imprisoned for five thousand years, presumably after he freed the Seven Deadly Sins and nearly destroyed the world, as established in Shazam!.
Another set of concept images revealed Black Adam battling Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Cyclone, in addition to Atom Smasher. All of this lines up with how Black Adam is depicted in comics.
Black Adam in comics
Black Adam, given name Teth-Adam, was born in 13th-century Egypt, and, as an adult, was chosen to receive the power of Shazam, just like Billy Batson in the modern day. That makes him strong enough to go toe-to-toe with Superman (who The Rock even teased may show up either in the movie or down the road in the franchise).
In the modern DC Comics Universe, however, he’s also had role as a world leader. After being revived/released in the modern day, he returned to Khandaq, the made-up middle eastern country that he once ruled in antiquity. There, the descendants of his original subjects received him as a theocratic ruler.
Adam is prideful, powerful, and follows his own code of honor. His stated goal is to protect his people and foster their growth as a society, and he believes that American superheroes have an outsize influence on global norms.
We’ll certainly find out more as Black Adam starts production and we grow closer to the movie’s release date. In late 2019, Black Adam was set for a Dec. 22, 2021 premiere, but you can expect that with many movie productions shuffling around due to COVID-19 delays, that could change.