Comic book fans have been waiting almost 10 years to see Dwayne Johnson suit up as DC Universe antihero Black Adam. According to the man himself, they’re gonna have to wait a little bit longer. Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment recently, the star of the new action blockbuster Rampage revealed that production on the Black Adam feature likely wouldn’t start for another year. “The script came in, it’s great, we’re working on it,” Johnson teased. “If things come together in the way we anticipate them coming together, that feels like a 2019 movie.” (Watch the clip above.)
Blame the delay, in part, on Marvel Studios. Since launching the Marvel Cinematic Universe in 2008’s Iron Man, the Disney-owned company has provided the model for how to construct a living, breathing, and always-evolving galaxy for its countless costumed-clad avengers. In contrast, its distinguished competition at DC has endured a number of false starts and dead ends, with a few hits (Wonder Woman) and several more misses (Green Lantern, Justice League). “Marvel is doing such an incredible job of universe building … and DC is doing a great job finding the footing and tone of their movies,” Johnson said diplomatically.
The success of Black Adam in particular hinges on finding the right tone. Debuting in 1945 as a nemesis for Captain Marvel, a.k.a. Shazam, the superstrong, superfast, and supersmart villain has also, at times, been an ally with an attitude. “It’s this phenomenal opportunity for us to nail the tone and make sure he’s badass,” Johnson says of how he hopes to represent Black Adam onscreen. “Also we have intrinsic DNA tied to a lot of other properties in DC.”
The most obvious tie, of course, is to Shazam, who is being played by a bulked-up Zachary Levi in a adventure now being filmed and set for release on April 5, 2019. The original plan was for Black Adam to soar onscreen in that movie, but his cameo wound up getting dropped. “[Johnson] has been cast as Black Adam, but he’s not going to be featured in this film,” Shazam director David F. Sandberg recently told Film Riot. “There have been variations of the script … but now this is about Shazam.”
Another of those properties could be Suicide Squad 2: there has been mounting speculation that Johnson’s Black Adam could make his debut in the sequel, which is slated to begin shooting by year’s end, alongside Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn.
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