Riddle me this: Which superhero cinematic universe has one of the biggest movie stars in the world signed to be a part of it yet fans still haven't seen him in a movie? If you guessed the DCEU and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, you guessed the magic answer. Since 2014, Johnson has been locked in to join the DCEU as Black Adam, who is one of the most powerful characters in DC Comics. Johnson is certainly enthusiastic about playing Black Adam, whom he calls "the most intriguing superhero." Thus far, however, neither The Rock nor his future superpowered alter ego have been sighted in a DCEU film.
Black Adam is traditionally the arch enemy of Shazam. However, the Shazam movie, which will be directed by David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) and just found its star in Zachary Levi (Heroes Reborn), is not expected to include Johnson as Black Adam in its cast (unless Johnson appears in a mid-credits tease, which is certainly possible.) Meanwhile, the Black Adam solo feature film has just found a screenwriter in Adam Sztykiel, who wrote Rampage, which also stars Johnson. This places the Black Adam movie in the earliest stages of pre-production. Yet since promoting Baywatch last May, Johnson has been teasing when fans will finally get to see him as Black Adam:
“It’s definitely going to happen... We have a really cool surprise for Black Adam that I can’t reveal, in terms of where we will see Black Adam being introduced.”
It now looks like that first appearance will be Suicide Squad 2. And if this rumor is proven to be true, it's the perfect movie for Black Adam to debut in!
The Justice League are the World's Greatest Superheroes. The Suicide Squad, meanwhile, were billed as the Worst Heroes Ever. Black Adam is set apart from both: he is the Anti-Hero. Neither strictly good nor evil, Black Adam has, in Johnson's own words, "a ruthless code... that I feel in my bones." This is what drew the actor to this particular character above all others. The DCEU version of Black Adam will likely cherry pick various elements from his rich comic book history, which goes back over 70 years, but is expected to be based on the most recent New 52 incarnation of the character:
The nearly immortal Black Adam was a slave in the fictional Middle Eastern nation of Khandaq long ago. When Teth-Adam's nephew Aman was chosen by the ancient wizard Shazam to be his champion, Adam killed Aman and stole the power of the lightning for himself. Aman had planned to use Shazam's power to benefit the people of Khandaq, but Adam sought to use the power to wreak vengeance on those who enslaved him. Black Adam has been an outright villain who has battled not only Shazam but every major DC superhero throughout various comics - Adam even once instigated World War III - but he has alternately been depicted as the pragmatic ruler of Khandaq who has dedicated himself to the protection of his nation and its people. Adam has the regal bearing and countenance of a monarch, which makes him unlike anyone else in the DCEU.
Like the superhero Shazam, Black Adam has the power of six gods, but in his case, six Egyptian gods as opposed to the six Greco-Roman gods Shamam draws his power from. Black Adam is one of the strongest beings in the DC Universe. He has strength, speed and stamina on a par with Superman and wisdom and experience that rivals Wonder Woman's. Judge him by the altruistic heroic code of the Justice League, however, and Black Adam is easily cast as 'a bad guy.' Which makes him an ideal fit for the Suicide Squad.
BLACK ADAM AND THE SUICIDE SQUAD
No stranger to working with his fellow villains when it suits him, Black Adam has a comic book history with the Suicide Squad. In Suicide Squad #58 set during the 1994 "War of the Gods" crossover event, Adam joined forces with Amanda Waller's team of super villains-turned-government black operatives to raid the island of the sorceress Circe. Similarly, in the Suicide Squad movie, their first mission ended with the Squad having to take out the Enchantress (Cara Delevingne) to save Midway City. The Suicide Squad is already old hat at dealing with beings possessed of otherworldly power.
Related: Is Shazam Set In The DCEU?
The early word on Suicide Squad 2 suggests that the sequel helmed by director Gavin O'Connor (Warrior, The Accountant) wouldn't utilize Dwayne Johnson as a card-carrying (or in the Squad's case, a nano bomb in their neck-carrying) member of the team. Rather, the Squad would be deployed to find a weapon of mass destruction, which would be revealed as Black Adam. This would essentially amount to a cameo meant to accommodate Johnson's legendary busy schedule, but would still allow The Rock to make a dramatic and memorable impact as Black Adam, whetting appetites for his solo movie and more appearances in the future.
If this plot turns out to be the basis of Suicide Squad 2, it also has a comic book precedent: the plot of "The Black Vault", 2016's Suicide Squad Rebirth comics' first story arc, saw the Squad deployed to a Russian prison to retrieve a Phantom Zone portal, which lead to the mysterious Black Vault and its inhabitant: General Zod. The Superman villain then battled the Squad and murdered Captain Boomerang (though the death didn't stick). This scenario could easily be adapted for Suicide Squad 2, and with the DCEU's Zod (Michael Shannon) now twice dead after being turned into Doomsday in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Black Adam would be a logical substitute for Zod and an awesome target for the Squad to face.