Shazam! officially arrives in theaters this weekend, bringing a whole new corner of the DC Extended Universe to the big screen. Considering the unique, self-aware take that the film has on the superhero world around it, some are wondering what cameos they can expect -- particularly from Billy Batson's most iconic comic adversary.
As you would probably expect, spoilers for Shazam! below! Only look if you want to know!
The film follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel) a fourteen-year-old orphan who is bestowed superpowers by an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou). As those who are familiar with the world of DC Comics probably know, one notable character was also given those powers at one point in time -- Black Adam, who Dwayne Johnson has been lined up to play in some capacity for over a decade now. Even though one report after another has said that Johnson will not cameo in Shazam!, some fans have been curious to see how Adam's history fits into the film.
So, does Black Adam appear in Shazam!? The answer
When the Wizard first summons Billy, he gives the boy his own DCEU-style "history lesson", explaining the origins of his magical powers. He reveals that a long time ago, he had chosen someone to be worthy of his powers, only for that "champion" to cause death and destruction with his newfound abilities.
As the Wizard is telling this story, a golden hologram of sorts makes its way through the Rock of Eternity, showcasing a stylized version of those events. When the Wizard mentions the previous champion, a hologram of Black Adam briefly appears, with a face that definitely looks like Dwayne Johnson.
Granted, the appearance easily falls into the "blink and you'll miss it" category, but it serves as just enough of a tease of Shazam!'s larger history. And as those who have been involved with the film have explained several times over, it was decided early on that Black Adam shouldn't play a larger role.
"Early on before I came on board they had experimented with the possibility of doing a Shazam vs Black Adam movie but I think they felt that that was, you know, it was better to just focus on Shazam first and give him his proper space and not have to also do Black Adam," Shazam! director David F. Sandberg explained to ComicBook.com. "So it was a way of, like, have Sivana take more space and that, actually let him have some powers to play around with. So he could be a formidable foe."
And with a Black Adam solo movie also in the works, it sounds like Johnson's portrayal of the character will appear in the flesh sooner than later, which will hopefully culminate in a face-off against Shazam.
"Listen, we don't know but I've gotta believe that there's gonna be a standalone Black Adam movie before there's ever a movie with Shazam and Black Adam sharing the screen," Shazam! producer Peter Safran told ComicBook.com.1comments
"Yeah I think that is the goal, it is giving heroes their time to shine and not feeling like you have to shoehorn in some universal connection amongst them all," Safran continued. "The studio's been incredibly supportive and DC's been supportive about saying take the time that you need to introduce these characters in the right way and tell the stories that you really want to tell, and that the audiences really want to see with these characters."
Shazam! is in theaters now. Other upcoming DC movies include Joker on October 10th, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020, The Batman on June 25, 2021, The Suicide Squad on August 6, 2021, and Aquaman 2 on December 16, 2022.