By now, you’ve probably seen the first trailer for the long-awaited, highly anticipated DC movie Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson. Johnson has been dreaming of playing the character for years—but now that the first trailer is here, fans might be wondering where the movie and the character stand in the larger DC universe. io9 was among a group of journalists who spoke to Johnson and Black Adam director Jaume Collet-Serra, as well as producers Beau Flynn and Hiram Garcia, about the project.
During the discussion, Johnson was very clear that he didn’t train and dream about playing Black Adam for years to make just one movie. He’s in it for the long haul. “I am 100% committed to not only Black Adam, but then expanding the Black Adam universe [and] the DC universe,” Johnson said at the event.
“I am an optimist from the word ‘Go.’ So to me, and to all of us up here, all the universes exist in our heads. I will, we all will, work very hard to make sure, again, that we honor the mythology but also give the fans what they want,” Johnson said. That was a very big point he and the team made. This is a movie they made because the fans really wanted it. “I hear [the fans],” he said. “We all do. We pick up everything they’re putting down. And it doesn’t get by me. It doesn’t get by these guys.”
“So this is the beginning,” Johnson continued. “Hopefully, fingers crossed, of a very long storytelling road that Black Adam is [the] anchoring jet fuel now, that will then push and press this universal out.”
Without having seen the film, which is out October 21, it’s hard to guess about how Black Adam will exist inside the DC Universe. But one clue might come from its history. Originally, Black Adam was going to appear in Shazam, with both characters getting simultaneous origin stories. Both Flynn and Garcia confirmed that there was a script to that end but when Johnson read it three years later, he knew it would be better served as two movies. That’s when David F. Sandberg went off and made Shazam, as well as the upcoming Shazam: Fury of the Gods, and now, there’s Black Adam.
After the press conference, io9 asked Garcia if the team had begun to think of ways to bring those two characters back together, and the producer told io9 not quite yet. “I think right now it hasn’t been in our thoughts because they’re just such tonally different movies,” Garcia said. “Shazam is a very specific tone. This is actually much darker, much more aggressive. Look, all these characters, in our mind, are in a shared universe. But right now we haven’t been thinking about merging them at all. But they all exist in the same universe, so there’s always an opportunity for that.”
Since Johnson is one of biggest stars in the world, we followed up and asked Garcia if, especially with the standalone success of Joker and The Batman, there was ever talk of making Black Adam its own thing.
“No. I mean, look, I think ultimately we’re always listening to the fans and what we find is that, from what we always hear from fan feedback, fans want to know that everything’s connected,” Garcia said. “So we’re not rushing into that. But in our mind, what we’re crafting is something that falls into a bigger part of the DC universe. I think that’s where the power is. And I think ultimately if you build these characters up enough, you want to see them cross paths with some other beloved characters. I think that’s exciting.”
It most certainly is. Black Adam, the beginning of a new era of the DC universe, opens October 21.
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