Dwayne Johnson Says Black Adam Needed His Own Movie After Reading First Shazam! Script

"Long ago, we chose a champion and we chose recklessly," the Wizard Shazam (Djimon Hounsou) told young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) in 2019's Shazam! "He used his power for revenge, releasing the Seven Deadly Sins into your world." That champion was the enslaved Teth-Adam (Dwayne Johnson), Shazam's comic book nemesis who will headline his own film when Black Adam hits theaters October 21. The long-in-the-works solo spinoff comes 15 years after Johnson first entered talks to play the DC supervillain in Shazam!, originally developed with Johnson's Get Smart director Peter Segal. 

"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.'"

Nearly 5,000 years after he was bestowed with the almighty powers of the ancient gods—and imprisoned just as quickly—Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.

Starring Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam, Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Sarah Shahi as Adrianna, Marwan Kenzari as Ishmael, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, Bodhi Sabongui as Amon, and Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate, Black Adam opens only in theaters October 21.