Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has delved into the reasons he fought for Black Adam and Shazam to headline their own solo movies. It's been 15 years since Dwayne Johnson was first announced to be playing the antihero Teth-Adam, aka Black Adam, in a DC film pitting the character against his longtime rival Shazam!. Of course, those plans were eventually changed, with Zachary Levi starring in 2019's Shazam! and December's Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Black Adam hits theaters on October 21st, and Johnson has been speaking out regarding Black Adam needing his own movie after reading the script for the original Shazam joint venture. Now, the actor is detailing why he wanted to protect Black Adam's ruthlessness and violence.
The XFL owner replied to a tweet discussing Shazam! moving forward without Black Adam. "[100%] true. Original script had both #BlackAdam #Shazam establishing their origin stories in one film. I fought hard for both characters (+ JSA) to have their own stand alone films for the fans to enjoy," Johnson said. "And protect Black Adam's ruthless & extremely violent tone as we build out #DCEU"
💯 true— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) August 15, 2022
Original script had both #BlackAdam #Shazam establishing their origin stories in one film. I fought hard for both characters (+ JSA) to have their own stand alone films for the fans to enjoy.
And protect Black Adam’s ruthless & extremely violent tone as we build out #DCEU https://t.co/KFrokn5Tjn
One key note is the revelation that Dwayne Johnson preferred for the JSA (Justice Society of America) to star in their own feature film, similar to Black Adam and Shazam. Instead of getting their own film, the JSA will star alongside Black Adam, with Noah Centineo playing Atom Smasher, Aldis Hodge portraying Hawkman, Pierce Brosnan taking on the role of Doctor Fate, and Quintessa Swindell playing Cyclone.
"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 told Vanity Fair. "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."
After signing on to co-star as the big bad of Shazam! in 2014, Johnson lobbied for Warner Bros. to spin off the powerhouse into his own film. Shazam! moved forward with director David F. Sandberg and a "cameo" by Teth-Adam, the film instead pitting Billy Batson and his adult superhero counterpart (Zachary Levi) against the Seven Deadly Sins-wielding Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).
"I made a phone call," Johnson recalled. "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.'"
Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, Black Adam lands in theaters on October 21st.