Black Adam launched its trailer on Wednesday, giving fans of the character and Dwayne Johnson their first full look at how the next big DC Comics film is shaping up. Ahead of the trailer’s release, the team behind Black Adam spoke with members of the press on the Warner Bros. lot to share some insights about the process of bringing the character to the screen. With Johnson having been attached to the Black Adam character for nearly a decade (and seemingly ready for another 10 years), the plans for Black Adam’s big screen debut have shifted drastically throughout the years. Johnson, along with producers Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn, opened up about the original plans and why things shifted behind-the-scenes.
“The original plan, maybe five or six years ago I think, was to tell the two origin stories of Shazam! And Black Adam in the same movie. That’s what we had worked on,” Johnson said. “The script was delivered. When we all read the script, I immediately felt like, ‘We have to separate these two movies. We have to honor Shazam! And that origin story and what that is and what that can be for the fans and then we also have to tell our story, too, as well. ‘ I think in separating them, with the majority of the world not knowing who Black Adam if you weren’t a serious comic book fan, it was important I think to separate them and tell each story respectively. “
Ultimately, pulling Black Adam from the first Shazam! movie was a call made by Johnson himself, literally. “I got a phone call very early in the morning from Dwayne Johnson which is always very intimidating,” Flynn said. “He called Hiram and I, he just said, ‘Brothers,” he said, “We’re gonna make Black Adam. We’re gonna tell this story. It’s so big and so important, ‘and that was it. It was really an amazing … Dwayne’s instincts are so extraordinary but he was right. Again, we were deep in it and developing that script with both of them and there’s a reason why sometimes in our business sometimes you have to keep moving forward and sometimes the business tells you. We weren’t really cracking it. It wasn’t really working and then that’s when that call came through and everything changed. “
As the story goes, Shazam! released in 2019 and was well-received by mainstream audiences. The film offered up a lighter tone than most of the DC Comics films which had preceded it since 2013’s Man of Steel launched a new big screen universe. The darker-toned films drummed up more box office dollars, boasting heroes such as Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman but Shazam! managed to offer introduce a new character to mainstream audiences and succeeded. The light tone, however, has little in common with what Black Adam is going to be bringing to the screen other than a shared universe.
“It was very freeing,” Garcia admitted about the shift away from having Black Adam and Shazam! debut in the same film. “We were encountering ideas, as you guys know who have seen Shazam!tonally Shazam! is just very different from Black Adam. To properly make sure you introduce these characters in the right way for the fans and for the world, we wanted to make sure we honored the tone and were doing it the right way. When Dwayne sent us that message and it shook us up, then we all were like, ‘Oh, this is so much easier now.’ We saw the patch. Shazam! turned into the great property that it is and that movie came out great. I think you guys will see with this, tonally we honor Black Adam. I think this is a right way to introduce him to the world where you’ll understand his backstory but you’ll understand his tone spot on and I think the fans will be able to respond to that. “
While the crossovers between Black Adam and Shazam! or the rest of the DC cinematic universe might not be coming in this first outing, Garcia promises they have such events in mind. : It’s all part of the mission, “Garcia told ComicBook.com exclusively.” In our mind, it’s all part of a shared universe. All these guys exist together. We’re just focused on telling this story, on telling Black Adam and [Justice Society of America]. But the way we view it and our ambitions for the Universe is this is all shared. And I think you start to feel the ripples of these guys in the Universe. “
Are you excited to see Black Adam? Share your thoughts in the comment section! Black Adam hits theaters on October 21, 2022.