Producer/star Dwayne Johnson says that Black Adam’s name has a deeper emotional importance and teases its ties to his antihero’s origin story.
As he finally gears up to make his way to the DC Extended Universe, Dwayne Johnson opens up about the deeper emotional importance of Black Adam‘s name. Johnson has been attached to the iconic DC Comics villain-turned-antihero for nearly a decade now, having first been attached to play the character in a Shazam! film. Believing there to be enough different material and tones to split them up, Johnson suggested splitting the two into separate movies, with Shazam! hitting theaters first in 2018 while Black Adam languished in development.
The gears would start turning in 2019 when Johnson brought on director Jaume Collet-Serra after being impressed with his work on Disney’s Jungle Cruise, with casting beginning the following year with Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, Sarah Shahi as Adrianna Tomaz, Marwan Kenzari as Sabbac and Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate. The film will mark the DCEU debut of the titular character as he escapes his near-five-thousand-year imprisonment and runs afoul of the Justice Society of America, who try to convince him to use his powers for good. Following its elongated development cycle and multiple release date shifts, Black Adam is slated for an October release and one star is teasing his character’s emotional development.
While speaking with Vanity Fair for his long-awaited superhero debut, Dwayne Johnson offered some insight for the nature of Black Adam. In reflecting on the character’s origin story, the producer/star revealed there’s a deeper emotional importance to Black Adam’s name and explained how it will tie into his antihero arc. See what Johnson shared below:
“Black Adam’s real name is Teth-Adam. And the Black in Black Adam refers to his soul. [His dark family origin story] is something that’s universal, that everyone can relate to. It doesn’t matter your color or religion or what your bank account says, or wherever you live, or what your job is. I mean, everybody can relate to family and wanting to do all you can to protect that family. And when your family’s ripped away from you…it changes the person.”
Though best known as Shazam’s rival in the comics, Black Adam is also known for eventually transitioning to the antihero side of the field, but has seen a number of origin stories in both his DC and Fawcett past, including becoming corrupted by the wizard Shazam’s evil daughter Blaze, simply being a greedy being and being a former slave who used his powers for vengeance. The Black Adam trailers have largely pointed towards an adaptation of the latter origin from the New 52 DC Comics universe, with the San Diego Comic-Con footage specifically showing a flashback to unspecified family members of Johnson’s character being killed and him being left for dead. Further evidence of this serving as the main story source includes Intergang appearing in the film and the introduction of Sarah Shahi’s Isis.
Johnson’s tease of a deeper emotional importance behind Black Adam‘s name seems to point towards the film properly establishing him as an antihero going into the DCEU’s future rather than strictly a villain. Though this risks the film running into the same narrative formula as Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and fellow Warner Bros. tentpole Godzilla vs. Kong, in which the titular foes team up against a bigger threat, one can hope that the studio learned from the critical failure of the former to approve said story approach. Only time will tell when Black Adam hits theaters on October 21.
Source: Vanity Fair