As DC prepares their shared movie universe, a lot of speculation has surrounded who Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is going to play. For over a year, the wrestler-turned-blockbuster actor had teased that he was in talks with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment for a comic book role – a character that had not been brought to the big screen before. Speculation and rumors pointed to a number of possibilities – including Aquaman (now confirmed to be played by Jason Mamoa), the John Stewart version of Green Lantern, Cyborg (to be played by Ray Fisher), as well as a part in the Shazam movie (either as the titular hero or antagonist Black Adam).
However, in the last month, the action star began to narrow the focus – specifically stating that the role was connected to Shazam and that, as many speculated he was either going to play the titular hero or Black Adam. Some fans questioned whether the actor might be attempting to spread misinformation to mask the possibility that he was set for a surprise cameo in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice as Green Lantern but, now, we have an official statement from Johnson regarding which character he’ll play in the DC movie universe.
After months of debate, Johnson took to Twitter to break the news – claiming that he will bring Black Adam to life.
Following Johnson’s tweet, Variety added to the news, claiming their sources say Darren Lemke (Jack the Giant Slayer) will write the Shazam movie script but has just been brought on board. The outlet also suggests that even though Lemke is in the early stages of work on Shazam, Warner Bros. (who merged with former Shazam studio New Line Cinema) is likely to push forward quickly with production once the screenplay is finished.
Coupled with Johnson’s choice to confirm his role this early, the timeline lends further credence to DC’s rumored film lineup – making it very possible that Shazam is targeting August 5th, 2016 or June 23rd, 2017 for release. Both of those dates are also rumored slots for Justice League but, while it has been suggested that Zack Snyder’s Batman V. Superman follow-up could arrive sooner than some expect (read: the August 2016 date), no official confirmation has been released.
Movie fans who are less familiar with the Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel) storyline are likely to think of Black Adam as Shazam’s archenemy. Yet, as Johnson suggests in his tweet with #TheAntiHero, the more recent iterations of the character have presented more as an antihero – a super-powered ruler with his own agenda, often resorting to violence in order to protect his interests. Black Adam has ‘abused’ the power of Shazam and is responsible for countless evil acts, to be sure, but in an expanding DC movie universe, there’s also room for the character to find redemption – not to mention make future appearances.
No doubt, many fans were hoping to see Johnson in the lead role as the super-powered side of Billy Batson/Shazam. However, as we’ve previously stated, the actor might actually get to dig deeper and explore a greater range in Black Adam. While DC will, without a doubt, be attempting to inject captivating drama into the main hero role – it’s likely the more reflective moments will occur in adolescent Billy Batson’s side of the story and a boyish but bulky grown-up (someone like Armie Hammer) will mostly provide supporting actor action muscle as Shazam.
After all, if the casting of Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam sounds like a letdown for those hoping to see him play John Stewart, Aquaman, or Shazam, just think of what Tom Hiddleston has been able to able to do in the Marvel Universe as Loki – another comic book character that many expected to be a one-off villain.
Black Adam has fought several Justice League heroes over the years (including Superman), so if the Shazam film comes before Snyder’s team-up, Johnson might even have a malevolent hand in bringing the superhero group together.
We’ll keep you updated on the status of the Shazam movie – and Dwayne Johnson’s role in it – as news develops. As of now, we’re looking at either the August 5th, 2016 or June 23rd, 2017 slots for yet-to-be-revealed DC movies as the most probable dates for Shazam’s release.
Follow me on Twitter @benkendrick for any future updates on Shazam and the DC movie universe, as well as movie, TV, and gaming news.