We’ve been waiting for nearly 15 years now for a Black Adam movie. Before there was even an inkling of a DC Comics cinematic universe, New Line had been trying to adapt the popular comic book anti-hero to screen. Even when Dwayne Johnson signed to star in and produce the film, things were still stuck in limbo. With the creation of the DCEU though things finally picked up steam with a movie focusing on Shazam, Black Adam’s heroic rival, becoming a huge hit. Originally, Johnson was going to show up in that film, but it was decided to rather give Black Adam his own film. That was 2017 and we still have nothing to show for it! But that all changed tonight.
After teasing it all week, Johnson led a DC FanDome panel for the upcoming movie and finally gave us a look at his “man in black” with several pieces of concept art that showed off the character’s costume. He also teased that “the hierarchy of power in the DC UNIVERSE is about to change,” calling out all the current superheroes in the DC cinematic universe and saying that “He’s coming to crush them all.” Ooh.
As Johnson explained during the panel, there’s unfortunately not much about the movie that can be shown at this point as production was delayed due to the pandemic. But what we did get was a super cool animated clip giving the backstory of Black Adam which was created by DC Comics legend Jim Lee and poster artist maestro BossLogic. Check it out below.
So this is interesting. In the comics, Black Adam was the wizard Shazam’s first choice of magically powered champion thousands of years before the heroic Billy Batson would ever show up. He didn’t have the morality that Billy would bring, and became a power-mad dictator. His origin has been reworked over the years though to make him a more sympathetic – but not less brutal – anti-hero who rules the middle-eastern country of Khandaq. That all seems to be what we saw in that clip.
One interesting wrinkle though is that in his most recent comic iteration, Black Adam is freed from a centuries-long imprisonment by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana who possesses a magic eye. In the Shazam! movie though, Black Adam is not mentioned at all but Mark Strong’s version of Sivana instead borrows bits of his origin story as it’s revealed that he was failed prior champion prospect for Shazam. So will they be keeping Black Adam’s original origin story – which was kind of already done with Sivana now – or will they go with something new? The animated clip is actually not clear.
What is finally clear is that it was officially confirmed at last that Noah Centineo will be playing the classic size-changing superhero Atom Smasher. The vintage character has a long history with the Justice Society of America, DC Comics’ first superhero team, who has had numerous major stories with Black Adam. And as Johnson subsequently revealed, Atom Smasher is just the first as the rest of the movie will introduce more of the JSA in the forms of Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Cyclone and it looks like they will be Black Adam’s main competition in the movie.
Black Adam is scheduled for release on 22 December 2021.
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Last Updated: August 23, 2020