The DC Extended Universe has added a huge star to its ranks, as Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is set to take on the role of iconic comic book antihero Black Adam.
This project has been gestating in development for many years but is really picking up steam now, with a prolific action director at the helm and the recent casting of a rising talent.
Teen heartthrob Noah Centineo (To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before) has been cast as Atom Smasher, a superhero with incredible strength who can grow up to 60 feet tall.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Black Adam movie, including which other superheroes might make an appearance.
When is Black Adam released in cinemas?
Black Adam will be released on 22nd December 2021. Johnson confirmed during an Instagram live in April 2020 that the film was due to begin filming at the end of summer.
With all the major delays hitting the film industry amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s unclear at this stage if Black Adam’s production kick-off will be postponed, or if its release date will be altered.
Who is Black Adam?
Black Adam has a complicated history, starting out as a creation of the now defunct company Fawcett Comics back in 1945.
The character as we know him today, however, began to emerge in the 1970s, when DC Comics bought the rights to Black Adam, Shazam and several other associated characters to add to their own universe.
As is often the case with DC’s heroes, various details about Black Adam – such as his origin and personality – have shifted over time.
In one tale, The Power of Shazam! – written by Jerry Ordway in 1994 – Black Adam is depicted as having originated from the fictional Middle Eastern country of Kahndaq, thousands of years ago.
Born “Teth-Adam”, son of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II, he was rewarded with incredible powers bestowed on him by the high priest and wizard, Shazam.
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The Man in Black ⚡️ Like most kids growing up, I dreamed about being a superhero. Having cool superpowers, fighting for what’s right and always protecting the people. It all changed for me, when I was 10yrs old and was first introduced to the greatest superhero of all time – SUPERMAN. As a kid, Superman was the hero I always wanted to be. But, a few years into my fantasy, I realized that Superman was the hero, I could never be. I was too rebellious. Too rambunctious. Too resistant to convention and authority. Despite my troubles, I was still a good kid with a good heart – I just liked to do things my way. Now, years later as a man, with the same DNA I had as a kid – my superhero dreams have come true. I’m honored to join the iconic #DCUniverse and it’s a true pleasure to become, BLACK ADAM. BLACK ADAM is blessed by magic with the powers equal to SUPERMAN, but the difference is he doesn’t toe the mark or walk the line. He’s a rebellious, one of a kind superhero, who’ll always do what’s right for the people – but he does it his way. Truth and justice – the BLACK ADAM way. This role is unlike any other I’ve ever played in my career and I’m grateful to the bone we’ll all go on this journey together. BLACK ADAM 12.22.21 ⚡️ Huge thank you to my friends, @jimlee and @bosslogic for this first time ever bad ass collaboration.
His powers enabled him to transform into superhero “Mighty Adam” simply by saying the word: “Shazam”.
However, when he finds himself corrupted by the demon Blaze (daughter of the wizard Shazam) – who convinces him to topple the Pharaoh and rule in his place – Shazam punishes Adam by stripping him of his powers and sealing them in a scarab.
This causes centuries of ageing to catch up with Adam, which reduces him quickly to a withered corpse. The wizard buries him and the scarab in the tomb of Ramesses II – “Teth-Adam” becomes “Khem Adam”, or “Black Adam”.
In the present day, Black Adam’s remains are discovered by his distant ancestor (and archaeologist) Theo Adam, who goes to extreme lengths to possess the scarab. He murders his bosses, the Batsons, who happen to be parents of the young Billy Batson (later, Captain Marvel/Shazam).
When the wizard Shazam decides to create a new superhero by granting Batson similar powers to those of Black Adam – transforming him into Captain Marvel (now known as Shazam) – Theo uses the scarab to assume the powers of his ancestor.
The two battle, with the former emerging triumphant.
In the JSA series, Black Adam returns, claiming he has freed himself from Theo Adam’s hold.
Over the years, Black Adam has slowly transitioned from outright villain to more of an antihero.
In an Instagram post, Johnson explained it was this rebellious nature that attracted him to the role.
Black Adam cast
Aside from Johnson in the title role, details are scarce right now over which actors will be cast in this brand new DC franchise, but one addition has been revealed.
Noah Centineo has been cast as Atom Smasher, a character with super strength and the ability to manipulate his size – growing up to 60 feet tall in some instances.
Centineo has accumulated a large teen fanbase through roles in Netflix teen romcoms like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and Sierra Burgess is a Loser.
Expect more casting announcements very soon, as Black Adam has the entirety of the Justice Society to cast (more details below) before it starts filming in the near future.
Will Shazam be in the Black Adam movie?
In the graphic novels, Shazam (formerly, Captain Marvel) is an arch nemesis of Black Adam and the pair feature in a number of storylines together.
While it seems the long-term plan will be to see the characters face-off in live action, Black Adam will first enjoy a debut film to himself, as Shazam did back in July.
Zachary Levi, who starred in the title role, revealed at fan convention CCXP Cologne that the two characters may not be seen on-screen together until the third Shazam movie.
He said: “I can say that as far as I know, Black Adam is not going to be in the second Shazam!, because the idea is that they want to go and do a standalone Black Adam movie first.
“And then it would kind of be, if we do a third Shazam! and a second Black Adam, kind of [parallel] like that, that’s where we would [meet].”
Shazam! received critical acclaim upon its release in the summer, and a sequel is currently in the works.
Will Superman be in the Black Adam movie?
The future of Superman is very much up in the air, with rumours abound over whether or not Henry Cavill will continue in the role.
A planned cameo for Cavill in last year’s Shazam! didn’t go exactly to plan, although Cavill and Johnson are friends in real life so it’s possible he might appear in Black Adam.
When asked about the prospect of Superman joining the film, Black Adam producer Hiram Garcia was non-committal.
“I think the DC Universe is a wonderful universe and we’re open to everything,” he said.
“We have big aspirations for it. We’re friends with Henry. [Dwayne] and Henry are friends, it’s a huge comic book brand as well. And I always just loved the idea. Who knows? But man, Black Adam for Superman is really cool. That’d be really powerful.”
So a Clark Kent cameo isn’t entirely out of the question. Watch this space.
Who are the Justice Society of America (JSA)?
A group of characters confirmed to be appearing in Black Adam are the Justice Society of America (JSA).
In current DC Comics, the JSA are a super team formed in the 1940s comprising Jay Garrick as The Flash and Alan Scott as Green Lantern, as well as lesser-known heroes like Sandman, Hour-Man and Hawkman.
Black Adam has worked with them in the comic books before, allying with the team when his character moved away from being entirely villainous.
Dwayne Johnson revealed the JSA’s inclusion while promoting Jumanji: The Next Level, joking that his frequent co-star Kevin Hart could play their pet.
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