It's been no secret that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is joining the DC Movie Universe - but where and how he fits in has been a point of mystery. For years it's been speculated that Johnson was going to be part of a Shazam movie - and a rumored lineup of DC movies recently seemed to corroborate that Shazam is at least headed to theaters.
Around the time of Comic-Con 2014, Johnson was once again out and about on social media, teasing that he could either be playing the titular role of Shazam or the hero's archnemesis, Black Adam. But now, there's no teasing left; Johnson is outright confirming that he has a character dilemma to settle. The question is: what should his choice be?
While in Mexico to promote Hercules, Johnson outright addressed the lingering Shazam rumors and speculation, offering some clarity on where the situation now stands. According to La Nacíon (via translation):
It's the story of Shazam, but I can not say now if (my role) is Shazam or Black Adam.
No mention was made of whether the actor will appear in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, but the Shazam role question is an interesting one - for both the actor, the studio, and the fan base. We already explained why Shazam can be a big success, but you do need the right pieces in place to get there.
For Johnson, it sounds like Black Adam is the role he truly wants to play (and it would be interesting to see him as a villain); for the studio, however, having a name like Johnson in the headlining role, over the course of multiple movies (like Justice League), holds obvious appeal (albeit a bigger price tag). For the fans, it's unclear what they want - but I'm sure our comments section will paint the picture.
Personally speaking, it usually works out better when an actor gets to put his passion in front of a lucrative contract - and Johnson getting to play Black Adam would admittedly work just fine. There are other (likely cheaper) actors who could play a square-jawed Shazam for the franchise. Since the hero is actually a child inhabiting a superpowered body, a boyish-but-strong-looking actor like Armie Hammer would be able to carry the role. Seeing Armie Hammer fight Dwayne Johnson would be equally as satisfying.
Pain & Gain showed how good Johnson can be in a darker role, but playing Black Adam (an Egyptian man who abused the power of Shazam for evil) would be a level of menace that we haven't ever really seen from the actor. Superhero movies need great villains - and Johnson makes for a better candidate than most to deliver that. We'll see how it all shakes out, but since the actor has been leaning one particular way for years, don't be surprised if the final outcome isn't a surprise at all.
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.