Big things are coming to the DC Extended Universe and perhaps the only thing as big (bigger?) than the Justice League itself, is Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson. The actor has been set to play the antihero/villain Black Adam in a Shazam DCEU solo film for years now, but of late there have been more and more signs that momentum on the project is picking up, ahead of its scheduled 2019 theatrical release date.
Johnson has been quite vocal about his enthusiasm towards the Black Adam character in the past; most recently, he met with DC Entertainment President Geoff Johns, to discuss the future of the DCEU and Black Adam's role in it. Well, it turns out that the character is going to be playing a much more substantial role in the next "phase" of the DCEU than was previously expected.
Deadline is reporting that Johnson as Black Adam is now getting his own solo movie, as part of the DCEU. It would appear that the plan now is to introduce Black Adam in his own film, ahead of Shazam (a character who has yet to be cast) being incorporated into the larger narrative tapestry of the DCEU at a later point in time. THR's Borys Kit is also reporting that the plan is for Black Adam to not be the main villain in the first Shazam movie, but that he could appear in a sequel. Moreover, Kit says that Black Adam himself could first show up (via cameo) in an upcoming DCEU feature like Aquaman, prior to his own solo film release.
Johnson is currently one of the most dependable draws at the box office and he looks to only increase his starpower over the year ahead, between his roles in projects like the Baywatch film reboot and the next Fast & Furious movie, The Fate of the Furious. It's only natural, then, that Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Entertainment would feel confident enough to give the go-ahead to a Black Adam solo movie anchored by Johnson, despite the Adam character himself being relatively obscure in the larger pantheon of DC comic book characters. Then again, the same could be said for Shazam, so perhaps having Johnson's Black Adam step into the spotlight first will help to better build general interest in the former's own solo movie.
As for Black Adam's ability to carry a solo film: Johnson has said many times over that the reason he chose to play Black Adam rather than Shazam is because he feels the former has a richer backstory and is overall more compelling, by comparison. The fact that Black Adam is getting a spinoff movie of his own only further bolsters the argument that the future of the DCEU will be decided by DC villains and antiheroes, not DC superheroes. Indeed, with a Black Adam film, Suicide Squad spinoff Gotham City Sirens and Doug Liman's Justice League Dark all being on the way now, the basic fabric of the DCEU might soon be noticeably different than that for any other superhero cinematic universe that is currently out there.
With no director formally attached at this time (rumors about Johnson's San Andreas and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island collaborator, Brad Peyton aside) and the script reportedly being worked on by Earth to Echo screenwriter Henry Gayden, there's much that has yet to be revealed about Johnson's Black Adam and his role in the DCEU right now. It appears safe to presume that Shazam's 2019 release date is going to be given to the Black Adam movie now instead, so stay tuned for official word on that and other related updates concerning the project, in the foreseeable future.
- Wonder Woman (2017) release date: Jun 02, 2017
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Cyborg (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020