The Shazam! property has been in development for a long time and while they’ve still to cast the title character, the studio will now simultaneously be developing a film focused on Black Adam, which Dwayne Johnson is attached to play Shazam’s arch-nemesis. Shazam is one of the oldest comic characters around, originally known as Captain Marvel. It focused on a young teenager, Billy Batson, who becomes the superhero when he utters the magic word ‘Shazam!’. The name is an acronym for six gods and heroes of the ancient world as well as their attributes: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Aries, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury.
The news comes after the high-level meeting Dwayne Johnson had with DC Films co-head and comics author Geoff Johns, which Johnson took to social media to promise ‘hope, optimism and fun’.
Dwayne Johnson has been attached to the project for a longtime, with him teasing for ages that he was going to be in the Shazam film, but having his fans guess as to who he would be playing. He confirmed back in 2014 that he would be playing Black Adam and originally Darren Lamke was attached to pen the screenplay but according to the THR article, it appears Henry Gayden is the latest writer to tweak upon the material.
This big screen adaptation of Black Adam sees him being an anti-hero and considering that the Shazam film is still set for a 2019 release, unless New Line and DC push back its release date down the line, it makes sense on a business standpoint to capitalise on a character you have already cast with one of the biggest bankable film stars around, which are few and far between nowadays. There is no writer or director yet for Black Adam that came with this announcement, while Shazam! still has to cast its lead and attach a director.