Following a high-profile meeting, New Line and Warner Brothers announced that Dwayne Johnson will headline a solo Black Adam feature, a character previously set to debut as the main villain of Shazam!. The movie will reportedly focus on Black Adam as an anti-hero, casting doubt on the character’s presence and role in Shazam!. All that’s certain is that neither feature has: a director, script, or production schedule; and only exists in the form of Johnson’s pecs and gigantic forearms.
Black Adam is a longtime foe of Captain Marvel (Shhh, not that one) unable to commit to being an outright villain or overly complex anti-hero. He started out as Teth-Adam before the wizard Shazam chose him as his first champion and he became magically empowered by saying ‘Shazam.’ Obviously a new name was needed after such a transformation, so he became Mighty Adam.
After years of being a hero, Mighty Adam was corrupted by his quest for vengeance against those who murdered his family and enslaved his people. Things got nasty, and Shazam ultimately disagreed with his champion’s bloodlust; forcing the wizard to confront his former golden boy and strip him of his powers, containing them in a golden scarab. From then, he became known as Black Adam.
Thousands of years later, Theo Adam accompanied CC and Marilyn Batson on an archeological dig which uncovered the scarab. Obsessed by the shiny object, he killed his companions and returned to the US with it; realising he was the reincarnation of Teth-Adam, Theo uttered Shazam’s name and was (drum roll) transformed into Black Adam (ta-da!). Leading to numerous confrontations with Captain Marvel, and just as many bouts of magically induced amnesia which never seemed to make Theo forget he could become an uber-powerful, demi-god like being for very long. Eventually, Black Adam was able to prove that he was a separate entity from his host, Theo, and not such a bad guy (it was Theo who murdered the Batsons).
Black Adam went on to join the Justice Society of America, and be a force for good, with only the occasional lapse like when he took over his home nation of Khandaq or fought a one-man war against the world’s superheroes.
DC’s film slate is currently in a never ending state of flux with: Wonder Woman, Justice League, The Flash, Aquaman, Shazam!, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, and Justice League 2 all expected to arrive before 2020. But rumours hint that one or more of those may be ‘forgotten’ or replaced by: The Batman, Man of Steel 2, Suicide Squad 2, Gotham City Sirens, or possibly Black Adam. If Warner Brothers execs don’t change their minds, at least some of those will happen, probably.