It’s been 15 long years since Dwayne Johnson first expressed an interest in playing Black Adam, a classic DC Comics supervillain from the 1940s. The project has been stuck in development hell for years, but the movie finally hits theaters this fall. And now we have the first trailer of black adamgiving us a look at the character’s origin story and his inevitable run-in with the Justice League of America (JLA).
(Spoilers for some of the comics below.)
The character made an appearance as a villain in the first issue of The Marvel Family comics in 1945. Canonically, it is an ancient Egyptian named Teth-Adam, whom the wizard Shazam chooses to be the latter’s successor. Teth-Adam was presumed to be pure in heart, but once empowered with the powers of Shazam, he became corrupted, killed the ruling pharaoh, and took the Egyptian throne. Shazam couldn’t revoke those powers, so he exiled Teth-Adam to the farthest star in the universe.
It took Teth-Adam 5,000 years to return to Earth – it was the 1940s, after all – and then he encountered the Marvel Family. Eventually, a family member tricks him into saying “Shazam” again, and Teth-Adam reverts to his human form, instantly aging 5,000 years. This is the story described in 2019 Shazam, when the Wizard explains what happened to young Billy Batson. (In this movie’s version, Teth-Adam, aka Black Adam, unleashed the Seven Deadly Sins on Earth and wiped out entire civilizations.)
DC Comics acquired the rights to Black Adam in the 1970s, and he became a recurring character in their Shazam Family comics. Initial interest in making a film centered around the character dates back to the early 2000s, with Johnson in the title role, but New Line Cinema put development on hold in 2009. In 2014, Warner Bros. took over the project, intending to make Black Adam a part of the DCEU. Originally, Johnson’s Black Adam was to appear as a villain in Shazam, but by then he was a huge, bankable movie star, and the studio decided to give him a standalone movie. (He briefly appears as a hologram as the assistant tells Billy about the backstory.)
black adam reunites Johnson with Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra. The premise of the film is that an exiled Black Adam reemerges around 5,000 years after his banishment and is thrust into the modern world, where his ruthless prisonerless approach to battling evildoers doesn’t quite fit the mainstream culture. manners.
black adam will also introduce the JSA to the DCEU. Pierce Brosnan plays Kent Nelson, aka Doctor Fate, a JSA member who wields a magical helmet. Noah Centineo plays Atom Smasher, a member of the JSA who can manipulate his molecular structure to change his size and strength. Aldis Hodge plays Hawkman, an archaeologist and the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince. His trademark wings give him the power to fly. And Quintessa Swindell plays Cyclone, Red Tornado’s granddaughter, who controls wind and can generate sound.
The cast also includes Sarah Shahi as Adrianna Tomaz, a college professor and resistance fighter in the fictional nation of Kahndaq, Black Adam’s original homeland. She’s in love with the comics, and it seems likely she’ll fill a similar role in the film. We also know that the criminal group Intergang will appear in the film.
The trailer hints at the character’s origin story, as we see Teth-Adam as a slave in ancient Egypt who loses his son and is granted godlike powers quite similar to Shazam’s. But otherwise, we don’t learn much about the plot. It’s apparently on purpose, according to producer Hiram Garcia, who recently told io9 that this first trailer is meant to be more of a teaser. There are glimpses of Atom Smasher, Cyclone, and Doctor Fate, who tells Black Adam he can choose to be a villain or a savior of this world. Thera also has a telling interaction with Hawkman, who perhaps positions himself as the moral foil to Black Adam’s anti-hero. Hawkman insists superheroes don’t kill people. “Well, I know that,” Black Adam replies. And of course, we get snippets of Johnson’s dry wit.
black adam hits theaters on October 21, 2022.
Listing image by YouTube/DC/Warner Bros