After 5000 years of traveling in the vast coldness of space, Black Adam has finally arrived to change the hierarchy of power in the DC Extended Universe. After being in developmental hell for close to a decade, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s dream project, Black Adam, will finally take flight.
In the recently held DC FanDome event, Dwayne Johnson revealed his plans for Black Adam. Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, Black Adam will be the second collaboration between the Spanish-America film director and the megastar, Dwayne Johnson. Slated to release on December 22, 2021, Black Adam will be the nexus between the glorious past and the exciting future of the DC Universe.
According to the official synopsis, Black Adam will explore the origins of the titular character by going back 5000 years into the past. In the DC FanDome event, The Rock shared an animated teaser depicting the rough storyline of the upcoming movie. With an ominous background score, Dwayne Johnson narrated the following:
“5000 years ago Kahndaq was a melting pot of wealth, magic, and power
Most of us had nothing except the chains around our necks
Kahndaq needed a hero
Instead, they got me
Now, 5000 years later I’m free and I give you my word no one will ever stop me again.”
As his dream project, The Rock has spent close to a decade in ideating and visualizing his plans for the character in the DC Extended Universe. Instead of approaching a one-dimensional, megalomaniac run-of-the-mill antagonist, Black Adam is going to be a multi-layered and complicated character who blurs the line between justice and vengeance.
In the comics, Black Adam was originally introduced as an antagonist to the superhero Captain Marvel/Shazam. Both the characters represented the two sides of the same coin as both of them derived their powers from the wizard Shazam. As Black Adam existed back in ancient Egypt, he was technically the predecessor of Captain Marvel.
In later editions, their powers were slightly altered. Shazam/Captain Marvel derives his powers from the Greek pantheon of gods: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury. The six Greek gods grant their respective abilities to the young hero, Billy Batson.
But in the case of Black Adam, he derives his powers from the ancient Egyptian gods: Shu, Heru, Amon, Zehuti, Aton, Mehen. As both the characters have to say SHAZAM! to activate their powers, the gods actually make up the acronym.
In ancient Egypt, Teth-Adam was the son of Pharaoh Ramesses II. His good deeds made the wizard Shazam grant him powers to be a hero. Unfortunately, Teth-Adam becomes corrupted by a mysterious woman, who turns out to be the daughter of the wizard Shazam, Blaze. As Adams eyes power, he murders the Pharaoh which enrages the wizard. As a result, his powers are stripped off.
In later years, Black Adam was written as an anti-hero instead of being entirely evil. Changing his origins from ancient Egypt to the fictional Kahndaq, his descent into evil was fuelled by the murder of his wife and children. However, the character was made a part of the Justice Society of America.
As an anti-hero, Black Adam is a violent character who only believes in his personal brand of justice. Despite being a member of the Justice Society of America, Black Adam was frequently at odds with most members of the society. However, he had one close friend who vouched for him; Atom Smasher.
Prior to the reveal at the DC FanDome event, actor Noah Centineo from To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before was cast as Atom Smasher. In the teaser, it was also revealed that three other members of the Justice Society of America would be making their appearance in the movie; Hawkman, Doctor Fate, and Cyclone. But now the question arises, how will these characters fit in the DC Extended Universe? Let’s find out.
In the comics, Albert Rothstein aka Atom Smasher derived his powers from his grandfather, the villain Cyclotron. Having absolute control over his body’s molecular structure, Atom Smasher can manipulate his density, size, and volume.
When the reformed Black Adam joined the JSA, Atom Smasher became his rival as he didn’t believe that Adam was capable of reforming. But soon after, the two characters grew close due to their shared ideologies. As a result, both of them exited the JSA because they felt that the group had too many rules and a straitjacket culture.
As both the heroes delivered their personal brand of justice (straight up murder), the JSA had to intervene and brought both of them to justice. During their adventures in Kahndaq, Atom Smasher had also started to doubt Black Adam’s real motives. Yet, he still had Adam’s back till the end.
Black Adam will also feature Hawkman. Interestingly, both Hawkman and Black Adam go long back to ancient Egypt. Hawkman was originally Prince Khufu of ancient Egypt. After being murdered by the Nth metal, Khufu is reincarnated as Carter Hall. As an archaeologist, Carter Hall stumbles upon the murder weapon used to kill Khufu and regains his memories. His fate is also tied to Shiera Sanders, the original Hawkgirl.
The third member from the JSA who will be making his appearance in Black Adam is Doctor Fate. Since there have been numerous characters who have taken the mantle of Doctor Fate, it is yet to be confirmed which one of them would be present in the movie. But interestingly, one of the characters who became Doctor Fate was Hector Hall, the son of Hawkman (Carter Hall) and Hawkgirl (Shiera Sanders). Doctor Fate played a crucial role in defeating Black Adam in Kahndaq after the antihero had exited the JSA to pursue his own ideals.
The fourth and final member confirmed to be making her appearance is Cyclone. A fairly new member of the JSA, Maxine Hunkel made her debut in Alex Ross and Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come. Cyclone is the granddaughter of the original Red Tornado.
As she possesses the ability to manipulate powerful winds, she is a prominent member of the JSA. Her role in Black Adam is yet to be revealed. But, it’s safe to assume that the teenage hero would be fighting against Black Adam in the movie.
Black Adam is slated to release on 22nd December 2021.