Black Adam isn't in Shazam!, and that is largely because of the decision made by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Warner Bros. and DC Films are currently enjoying the success that comes with the release of a brand new DC movie, with the live-action solo movie for Shazam starring Zachary Levi and Asher Angel as two halves of Billy Batson/Shazam. It puts him up against the dangerous Sivana (Mark Strong), but that was not always the plan.
Back when Shazam! first entered development, the movie was envisioned to include the first appearance of Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam. He was cast in the role back in 2014, and the plan was for him to be the first villain that Shazam would face. However, that clearly did not happen, and the decision was actually made several years ago. It was announced in early 2017 that this plan for Shazam was being scrapped in favor of splitting the competing origin stories for Shazam and Black Adam into two different films.
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While it was never clear how this decision was actually made, it sounds like it was Johnson himself who suggested it. During a recent Instagram post where he was celebrating the box office success of Shazam! (which he is an executive producer on), he mentioned the original plan for the movie and how it evolved to what it is now. According to Johnson, he suggested the change to WB chairman Toby Emmerich and the decision was made to give Black Adam a solo movie of his own.
As both a producer and a star, Johnson holds more power than a traditional actor. While it would be easy to see this move as a potentially selfish one so The Rock can have his own movie and not be a supporting one to a larger story, it actually appears to have worked so far. Audiences and critics have loved what Shazam! has to offer, and while the box office likely would have been larger with Johnson's star power, it also could've made the story too convoluted.
Now that Shazam! and Black Adam are two separate movies, they can collectively do more for the larger DC universe on their own than if they were together. Johnson has spoken about this in the past, saying that each film will be used to grow this shared universe. We've already seen how Shazam! is doing this by introducing magic to the world, and rumors are swirling that Black Adam will introduce a trio of known DC heroes, such as Hawkman. If Black Adam proves to be a success down the road, then it will confirm that Johnson and everyone else involved in making this decision actually did this for the benefit of the story - and not just the additional financial gain.
Source: The Rock
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