Dwayne Johnson Fought to Keep Black Adam out of ‘Shazam!’ to Avoid Doing a ‘Disservice’ to the Character

·2 min read

Considering Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s status as one of the world’s biggest action stars, many find it surprising that he’s waited this long to star in a comic book movie franchise. While the former wrestler likely could have had his pick of superhero parts in the past, he has always had his eye on one particular role: Black Adam. Johnson was first linked to the role a decade ago when he entered talks to play the villain in the movie that eventually became 2019’s “Shazam!”

Black Adam and Shazam have always been foes in the comic books, having received their superpowers from the same wizard. To many, a movie with the two of them facing off seemed like a natural fit. But Johnson eventually backed out of that project, encouraging Warner Bros. executives to develop a standalone movie to introduce the villain in a separate film.

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Johnson got his wish and “Black Adam” is scheduled to hit theaters this fall. In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Johnson explained why he held out to ensure Black Adam got his own movie.

“When the first draft of the movie came to us, it was a combination of Black Adam and Shazam: Two origin stories in one movie,” Johnson said. “Now that was the goal — so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But when I read that, I just knew in my gut, ‘We can’t make this movie like this. We would be doing Black Adam an incredible disservice.’ It would’ve been fine for Shazam having two origin stories converge in one movie, but not good for Black Adam.”

That sentiment prompted Johnson to make a phone call voicing discomfort with the idea. He explained that Black Adam and Shazam are fundamentally different characters, and introducing them both in the same movie would be a disservice to both of them. He believed that in the end any potential showdown between the two characters would be richer if they were both introduced in separate films.

“I said, ‘I have to share my thoughts here. It’s very unpopular’ because everybody thought, ‘Hey, this script is great, let’s go make this movie.’ I said, ‘I really think that you should make ‘Shazam!,’ make that movie on its own in the tone that you want. And I think we should separate this as well.'”

“Black Adam” will open in theaters on October 21, 2022. 

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