New Line has been developing an adaptation of DC Comics’ Shazam! for years, with Dwayne Johnson with attached to the project as far back as 2008. Now that DC Films is involved and Johnson has become one of the most bankable action movie stars in Hollywood, new plans are being made. Not only will The Rock star as the villainous Black Adam in the Shazam! film, but a spin-off painting his character as an anti-hero is also in the works.
The Hollywood Reporter has it that the two movies will be developed concurrently. Though Black Adam will be the antagonist of Shazam!, he’ll take on the role of protector in the spin-off as he defends his people from an outside threat. The story is plucked straight from DC Films’ co-head Geoff Johns recent run on the comic series, where the character fights off enemies trying to enslave the people he rules.
There’s actually some interesting opportunity for some political and social commentary in a story like this considering Black Adam’s homeland is Kahndaq, a fictional country sandwiched between Egypt and Israel. However, after a meeting with DC last week that led to this announcement, Johnson wrote an Instagram post saying there would be “tonal shifts” towards “hope, optimism & FUN” in the upcoming run of DC films. Then again, is there anything deserving of more hope and optimism than peace in the Middle East?
There’s no word yet on when a Black Adam movie might hit theaters or who would be involved in making it. Henry Gayden is reportedly reworking a script written by Billy Birch for Shazam!, which is currently slated for an April 5th, 2019 release. That’s exactly one month after Marvel plans to release the Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel, an ironic situation for comic fans since Shazam’s original name was also Captain Marvel.