Nowadays it’s not enough to make plans for one film at a time, when you’re playing the superhero movie game. Marvel Studios has projects roughly planned out through to 2021, while Sony and 20th Century Fox have a tentative release schedule worked out for the studios’ respective Marvel film properties (Spider-Man for Sony, Fantastic Four and X-Men for Fox) on through to 2018.
Elsewhere, Warner Bros. and DC have Batman vs. Superman in 2016, but beyond that it’s just been rumor and speculation, as far as future DC releases are concerned. Cast members like the new Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) have reportedly been signed to multi-picture contracts (which include a potential Justice League movie). There’s also been discussion online about Warners/DC developing lower-budgeted superhero genre offerings in the years ahead, based on niche comic book properties like Suicide Squad and Booster Gold – again, though, nothing official has been announced (nor have any release dates been staked out).
So what might that role be, then? Well, The Rock made the trip to Las Vegas this week for the 2014 CinemaCon, in order to promote his upcoming mythology/swords and sandal adventure Hercules (watch the trailer that dropped earlier today). No surprise, he didn’t offer reporters an explicit answer to their questions about his ongoing discussion with DC, though he did offer three hints about the comic book character he’s got his eye on right now (via Coming Soon):
“The first quality we were looking for is that he had to be extremely complex and have a lot going on and what that does for me as an actor and for the studio, just gives us space that we can explore his complexities. The other quality is that the character we were looking for had to be well known but never brought to life. That does, again as an actor, is that it gives me a little bit of space and it just gives me a chance to put an imprint into his personality with the set of tools that I can bring to the table and put a very unique twist on his personality but still pay homage to who he is. The third thing and most important is that he had to be a badass mother***ker and on a Superman level of power where he could throw down.
“In those three qualities, I’m happy we’ve found that character and right now we’re out to a lot of writers.”
It wasn’t long after Johnson dropped the bomb about his renewed DC talks in December 2013 that the rumor started him being eyed to play the John Stewart Green Lantern. Technically, that character fits those three qualifications that Johnson described – recall it was Hal Jordan, not Stewart, who was featured in the 2011 Green Lantern live-action movie – but earlier today, Johnson appeared to shoot that idea down:
Black Adam, for those unfamiliar, is a powerful super-villain who originated in 1945, before he became the primary nemesis for Shazam in the 1970s. However, since the start of the 21st-century, the character has evolved into more of a complex anti-hero and become an important fixture in the DC Comics’ New 52 universe. Johnson has been rumored to play the character before, though any chance of a Shazam live-action movie currently seems to be dead in the water – which doesn’t mean Johnson won’t play Black Adam in a different DC movie, of course.
So, what are some of the other popular choices, based on Johnson’s ground-rules? Well, to name two big ones:
- Lobo, a character who Johnson has been approached to possibly play in the past (something that he confirmed back in the day), though a movie vehicle featuring the character has been on-again/off-again multiple times over the last half-decade.
- Cyborg, who is rumored to be introduced in Batman vs. Superman before he appears in subsequent DC films. However, some of those same rumors indicate that the Cyborg in the Man of Steel sequel will be on the younger side (a la more traditional versions of the character) than Johnson would qualify for.
Johnson’s comment about his potential DC movie being “out to a lot of writers” seems to indicate that he is not circling Batman vs. Superman; rather, that he’s being groomed for a vehicle and superhero franchise that he can call his own, which makes sense given his current A-list status. Of course, it’s also possible that the next Superman film and/or Justice League would simply mark his debut in the DC-verse, before The Rock gets a solo feature.
And let’s not forget those pesky rumors from 2012, about WB/DC wanting to include Lobo in a Justice League movie down the line. Indeed, a star of Johnson’s stature would be a logical casting choice to play a potential Justice League member (ex. Martian Manhunter), and could feasibly help WB/DC keep up in the challenging business of superhero movie casting in Hollywood nowadays…
How about it – who do YOU think Johnson is being considered to play in the DC film universe? Better yet, who do you want to see him play in a DC superhero movie?
Batman vs. Superman is currently scheduled to hit theaters on May 6th, 2016.