It's official. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson will be starring in the upcoming adaptation of DC Comic's, Shazam, but he won't be playing the hero...this time. Johnson has been cast as the antagonist to the heroic Shazam, Black Adam. This is ending literally years of speculation concerning how The Rock will fit into the DC Universe. Today it was all made clear with a single tweet:
Variety reports that Darren Lemke (Turbo, Jack the Giant Slayer) has been hired to write the screenplay for the big-screen adaptation. His resume is extremely kid-friendly and should give fans an idea of the approach DC is taking to the material. After all, Shazam is the wish-fulfillment story of a boy who can become a superhero god by saying a magical word.
It seems that the hiring goes against the recent rumors that Warner Bros. is looking to stray away from "jokes" in their superhero adaptations. Of course, this particular property lends itself to humor more than the other DC characters. If they get it right, this could be the superhero version of Big. However, it will be interesting to see who WB can cast as Shazam that has the mass, child-like nature and charisma to not only go toe-to-toe with The Rock, but to make audiences root against him.
Casting The Rock as Black Adam, is a winning situation. On the big screen, audiences have grown accustomed to rooting for Johnson. Many will find the curiosity of seeing Johnson act villainous, as enough of a draw in itself and Warner Bros. knows that it will get casual moviegoers talking. Black Adam has a long history that has been revised multiple times. He has ranged from supervillainous, to an anti-hero trying to change people's perception of him. Take a look at this quick history of Black Adam to see what The Rock is cooking:
The fact that Johnson has been cast as Black Adam is not very surprising from a physical standpoint. In fact you would be hard pressed to find a character in comics who more closely resembles the icon. The Rock is also well versed at twirling his moustache and being villainous for the camera, from his pro wrestling days and even as the Scorpion King in The Mummy sequels. However, this role could prove to be a lot more complex and interweave with the fabric of the new film universe more than Black Adam has typically in other mediums.
What is surprising is that Johnson has not been cast as hero who could eventually join the Justice League. Johnson is not adverse to franchises or filming sequels. This is what an executive said about why they wanted Johnson involved in Variety's official release:
“We love Dwayne and have had nothing but success with him over the years,” said Toby Emmerich, President and COO of New Line. “When I look at Dwayne both off screen and on screen, he is such a larger than life character and it just made perfect sense to me that we put him in a DC comic movie. You look at these comic book characters and they have this certain swag and charisma that Dwayne carries with him where ever he is so that’s why this always made sense.”
It would be too big of a misstep to not include Johnson beyond the Shazam movie. Earlier this year The Rock said to IGN that his upcoming character "had to be a badass motherfucker, okay, and on a Superman level of power, where he could throw down." The only way to determine if he is on a Superman level of power, would be to have him throw down with the Man of Steel himself. And who wouldn't pay to see a super-powered Dwayne Johnson fight Superman? Here is a glimpse of what may be in store for Justice League fans.
How do we get to this point? Between the New 52 series and stories like Kingdom Come, there are ways of altering the mythology to include more Black Adam mayhem. Notice how the actual character of Shazam has barely been mentioned? That is because until there are more facts of how he will be interpreted on the big screen, it is hard to see him co-existing with Superman in a Justice League film or otherwise. He is simply too childish and similar to Superman in skillsets. Possibly they swap Black Adam in for Shazam in the Kingdom Come comic storyline, where Luthor uses a brainwashed Shazam as his wild-card against Superman. Perhaps for the cinematic incarnation, Luthor can simply have a meeting of the minds with someone such as Black Adam, who truly believes in his mission. Why is pitting Superman versus Black Adam almost inevitable? Because Superman is almost invincible, with the exception of kryptonite, magic, and getting beat to death. Black Adam has at least two ways to pose a physical threat to Kal-El. Plus it will would be epic to see on screen.
This is another domino to fall in WB's plans for their DC cinematic universe. Up next are official announcements on the Justice League, Wonder Woman and Aquaman. It's a very exciting time. What do you think of The Rock as Black Adam? How do you see him fitting into the upcoming films in the DC universe?
Let us know on the comment boards!
Sources: Point of Geeks, Variety, IGN