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Black Adam revealed its secret villain to San Diego Comic-Con fans only

Hall H attendees saw the sab-back of his head

Black Adam opening scene with Dwayne JOhnson floating and electrified Image: Warner Bros. Pictures
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

At every San Diego Comic-Con, fans line up in droves to get a seat in Hall H, because they know they’ll get to lay eyes on stuff that nobody else in the world will see — at least not until the movie or show actually comes out. Saturday’s Warner Bros. panel was no different: The studio gave a private, quick look at the mysterious, demonic villain of Black Adam.

The new Black Adam trailer that played in Hall H included a stinger that was left absent from its wide release, a quick shot of a hellishly red, horned head rising from some kind of ground or liquid. Pair that with previous leaks of Black Adam merchandise, and we have a good idea of exactly who that head belongs to, on set and off.

[Ed. note: We’re putting the reveal behind this spoiler warning just in case you want to wait until Black Adam is released or until there’s a trailer that officially reveals the villain.]

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Black Adam Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Given Dwayne Johnson’s grumpy demeanor and the way he keeps punching other superheroes in the trailer, you’d forgiven for assuming that he’s playing Black Adam as the villain. But that role seems likely to have actually gone to Marwan Kenzari (from the 2019 live-action Aladdin and Netflix’s The Old Guard), who will play Sabbac.

Who is Sabbac?

“The souls of your innocents will belong to me! [...] So swears Sabbac! King of devils!” bellows Sabbac in 52 #25 (2006). Image: DC Comics

Like Black Adam and Billy Batson before him, Sabbac is a mortal being empowered by a number of celestial beings. In the same way the letters in Shazam represent Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury; and the letters in Black Adam refer to various Egyptian deities that he gets his power from; Sabbac is empowered by, among others, Satan, Asmodeus, Belial, and Beelzebub.

There isn’t much else to say about his sporadic appearances in DC Comics — a few different mortal beings have claimed the powers of Sabbac and battled Shazam, as well as the Outsiders. But here’s an interesting fact: In Sabbac’s classic appearances, his greatest weaknesses were the cowardly natures of the demons who empowered him. Once Billy Batson and his family intimidated those demons enough, they would one by one desert their mortal host, leaving Sabbac powerless.

Perhaps that will be Sabbac’s ultimate undoing in Black Adam — or perhaps not. Until the movie comes out we won’t know for sure.

You can find all of Polygon’s coverage of SDCC 2022 news, trailers, and more here.

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