Dwayne Johnson Finally Makes Time for ‘Black Adam’

It’s been a long time coming.
Dwayne Johnson
Universal Pictures
By  · Published on October 20th, 2019

Dwayne Johnson is the most electrifying man in all of entertainment, and he’s also one of the busiest. The former WWE superstar can’t stop taking on new projects, which leaves some of them stuck in limbo while he focuses on his various other commitments.

One of Johnson’s most notable long-gestating movies is Black Adam, which will see him don a suit to play the titular DC Comics character. The original plan was to feature the actor as the villain in the Shazam! movie that flew into theaters earlier this year, but they’re saving that epic showdown for a later date.

The good news is that the movie is still happening. Johnson recently tweeted that the film will start filming next July, with Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra set to helm the superhero flick for Warner Bros. Story details are being kept close to the vest for the time being, but it will be interesting to see how the character is introduced to this universe. We have some ideas.

Black Adam finally gaining some traction is undoubtedly based on Shazam!’s critical acclaim and box office success. However, the film had been in development since the early 2000s. And Johnson agreed to come aboard in 2007.

As noted by, the plan was to have Peter Segal direct the movie from a John August script. Johnson was initially approached to play Captain Marvel/Shazam!, but he decided to play Black Adam instead because he thought the character’s transformation from slave to villain to antihero was interesting.

The movie entered pre-production at New Line Cinema in 2008, but the studio was taken over by Warner Bros. during the course of the film’s development and plans changed. The early drafts of Shazam! were light and comedic, but after the success of The Dark Knight, the studio demanded that August make the story darker and more serious in tone.

The screenwriter left the project shortly after. He was subsequently replaced by Bill Burch and Geoff Johns, but they didn’t have any luck making progress, either. At the time, Burch couldn’t guarantee that Johnson would stick around, but he was confident that the actor would based on his pre-existing relationship with Segal, having worked with the director on Get Smart.

In 2013, Segal stated that the project had been shelved due to the Shazam! character’s similarities with Superman, who received his own movie that same year courtesy of Zack Snyder. As we’d learn a few months after Segal’s revelation, however, this wasn’t the case at all.

In August 2014, the movie was back on track and Johnson confirmed that he was still in, though he couldn’t decide if he wanted to play the hero or Black Adam. By September, though, the actor confirmed that he’d portray the latter and that his depiction would be the modern antihero version of the character. David F. Sandberg eventually signed on to direct the movie in 2017, but DC’s plans for Johnson soon changed.

Around the same time that Sandberg signed on to helm the blockbuster, it was confirmed that Johnson would star in a Black Adam solo movie. The idea was to give the character an origin story before crossing paths with Shazam! down the line. Now that the plan is finally in motion, we can actually start getting excited about the future of these movies.

Johnson is clearly eager to play this character, having remained loyal to the project as it slowly comes to fruition over more than 12 years. Black Adam will also mark his first foray into superhero movie territory and will allow him to play a morally ambiguous character. Johnson usually plays good guys, so it’ll be fun to see him operate in a grey area for this movie.

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Kieran is a Contributor to the website you're currently reading. He also loves the movie Varsity Blues.