How Black Adam Survived Years of Changes (Exclusive)

Black Adam is finally getting close to its release, after Dwayne Johnson became attached to the role nearly a decade ago. In the time since Johnson joined the film, the plans for DC Comics movies have shifted around, to say the least. Black Adam was originally supposed to share in the Shazam! movie and other movies have been changed significantly – or, cancelled entirely. Much like its titular character, Black Adam has survived changes in leadership and various decisions controlling its fate. According to Black Adam star Dwayne Johnson and its producers Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn, there are "a few things," worth discussing when it comes to the final cut of Black Adam.

"I think that we have finally landed exactly where we need to be," Johnson said of his new film. "I do believe, like Doctor Fate, Fate doesn't make mistakes. Black Adam happened when it needed to happen, and it happened 10 years later."

Still, getting the movie made does not sound like it was any easy pursuit. "Man, I have been fighting for this thing. I've been pushing hard for this thing' Johnson explained. "And it's a little easier for studios, and I get it and I understand the economics of it... 'Well, this thing makes money. Batman, Superman, Batman versus Superman, Justice League, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Aquaman 2.'" 

Like Johnson, Flynn and Hiram Garcia came into the film fresh off of the Jungle Cruise boat, bringing director Jaume Collet-Serra with them. The duo and more within the crew on Black Adam have worked together on such other titles as Rampage, San Andreas, Red Notice, and more. 

"A lot of changes have [happened] but ultimately it does feel like we're exactly in a place we need to be," Flynn said. "This one called on all of our abilities and experiences over the last 20 years. The script as we know, it started out as a Shazam! / Black Adam launch for both characters. that was something we never fully got our arms around or could crack. Once they gave us the opportunity to make Black Adam on our own, we had a great time developing that script in a much different way.  Richard Brener, runs New Line and our executive, he has been consistently there all the way from the beginning of this to now still today, which is maybe the only person that was consistently there from top to bottom, him and Dave Neustadter. That did provide us a lane to be consistent with this movie regardless of all the other changes."

With so many changes going on within the project itself, such as dividing the original script for Shazam! and Black Adam into two separate film, and changes in leadership within Warner Brothers Discovery, Garcia noted that the core team on Black Adam was the integral part in getting the movie made. "This is also why you want to make movies with brothers and family.  Beau and I are best friends and we've been doing this for so long... Dwayne's obviously a brother... Dany [Garcia], my sister," Garcia said. "it did require a strong foundation like that, along with Brener at New Line, where you can always imagine like a running back running with blockers all around him where we really did have to protect the football of Black Adam because there has been so many regime changes and with regime changes come individuals who have different feelings and you might be getting different notes."

After years of working together on various projects, the teams at FlynnPictureCo and Seven Bucks pushed Black Adam along, their way. "We were always able to stick together and really protect the core of what we loved about Black Adam, what we really felt was essential to making sure we were able to tell in this version of the movie," Garcia said. "So, super grateful that we got to make this movie with Beau and Dany and Dwayne and Brenner at New Line, because that team allowed us to always protect the spirit and the heart of Black Adam and maintain that continuity through, you know, a lot of ups and downs that happen in this industry and we're really proud of the movie, the way it came out."

(Photo: Warner Bros. Discovery & DC's Black Adam)

"Let's build out this universe," Johnson declared. "I feel really confident in the new leadership that's in here now at Warner Brothers and actively looking now for... We're going to land on some leadership on the DC side, too. So, this idea that I've been saying for about a year now, about, 'Hey, this is a new era in the DC universe.' It's a new era there. It's a new era in Black Adam. You saw the end of Black Adam. That's a new era too as well, that we're bringing in. So, I feel good."

Black Adam is a character who has not been known as well as Batman, Superman, or Wonder Woman by mainstream audiences. Black Adam has never appeared in a live-action film prior to 2022 and has had far less comics in his name than those members of the Justice League. "So, it's a matter of just getting our partners to be comfortable with taking a real risk," Johnson explained. "It's okay that the world has no idea years ago who Black Adam is. That's up to us to do the storytelling."

Johnson noted, Black Adam is a bit of a "departure," within the super hero genre. This character is considerably more ruthless than most other heroes who get their own movies, seeing as he will brutally dispatch bad guys by terminating them. For Johnson, it's even more of a departure by comparison to the rest of the roles on his resumé. "I wanted the challenge, and I also wanted the challenge of creating and delivering for the fans out there, super hero genre fans and beyond, something that feels disruptive, and a character that feels disruptive and who is considered a super hero, considered at times a super villain, considered an anti-hero, considered a protector, a champion, but also one that says, 'F-ck those rules. This person is trying to harm me, my people, my loved ones. You die. That's it.' And I think now, that on its own, that could be a problem. But that in a world of superheroes who have an anchoring of a core value system where they have to bring these guys to justice, that collision of philosophies and world, man, I thought could be really something and very, very cool."

Are you excited to see Black Adam? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Twitter! Black Adam hits theaters on October 21.