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“He systematically crippled two franchises”: Dwayne Johnson Vetoed Against Shazam 2 Using Black Adam Characters to Massage His Own Ego That Led to Henry Cavill’s Superman Exit

“He systematically crippled two franchises”: Dwayne Johnson Vetoed Against Shazam 2 Using Black Adam Characters to Massage His Own Ego That Led to Henry Cavill’s Superman Exit

“The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change,” this was the tagline Dwayne Johnson used when he was promoting Black Adam. The phrase has since then been memed endlessly, and in a twisted way, it has come true as well. Now, it is James Gunn and Peter Safran who are the bosses of DC Studios and Johnson is out of the franchise entirely. However, a new report states that he would probably still have a place in the franchise if only he hadn’t sabotaged his film and Shazam 2 in a misguided attempt to reign over DC.

Dwayne Johnson’s Interference In Black Adam And Shazam 2

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam
Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam

Becoming a part of a franchise means being a team player. However, as per a new report by The Wrap, Dwayne Johnson wasn’t interested in doing so. For a long time, it was speculated that The Rock hated the goofy character of Shazam. As a result, he strived to keep Zachary Levi’s hero and his anti-hero separate, going so far as to not even a cameo in the first Shazam film. But The Wrap stated that he did way more than that. As per the outlet:

“He (Dwayne Johnson) vetoed a planned post-credits scene in “Black Adam,” which would have seen Shazam recruited by Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman, and other costumed heroes, into the Justice Society of America.”

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Zachary Levi as Shazam
Zachary Levi as Shazam

While the post-credits scene did happen in Shazam 2 with the titular hero getting recruited into the Justice Society, instead of Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman, it was Jennifer Holland and Steve Agee from Peacemaker doing the job. The site reported:

“New DC Studios co-chief and “Shazam” producer Peter Safran resurfaced a version of the post-credits sequence Johnson vetoed, and it now exists as a mid-credits cookie in “Fury of the Gods.” But Johnson nixed the use of “Black Adam” actors and the scene now plays out with Jennifer Holland and Steve Agee from “Suicide Squad” and “Peacemaker.”

The article ultimately says that Johnson’s intervention and refusal to work as a team with other DC characters proved to be the downfall of Black Adam as well as of Shazam 2. Here’s what the outlet says:

“By alienating the established property that his character was born out of, and refusing to integrate with other established characters, [Johnson] systematically crippled two franchises, and has harmed DC in the process.”

The failure of Shazam 2, which has only grossed just $65.5 million globally, half of which came from the domestic box office, isn’t solely The Rock’s fault. But it’s clear that Johnson needlessly meddled in the project presumably because he didn’t want his Black Adam to be associated with a kid-friendly character like Shazam.

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Dwayne Johnson Caused Henry Cavill’s DC Exit

Henry Cavill as Superman
Henry Cavill as Superman

DC fans are angry at Dwayne Johnson for bringing back Henry Cavill and then allegedly giving him false promises of Man of Steel 2, only for everything to fall apart later on. As per The Wrap, ex-DC Films boss Walter Hamada didn’t want the Superman actor back, but Johnson overreached. The site reports:

“Johnson spent much of the weeks before the release of “Black Adam” touting not the movie itself or his character’s in-universe connection to Shazam but instead on a theoretical clash of the titans between himself and Henry Cavill’s Superman. Then-DC Films head Walter Hamada vetoed a cameo by the star of the divisively received “Man of Steel,” “Batman v Superman” and “Justice League,” but Johnson went over his head and got approval from Warner Bros. Film Group co-CEOs Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy.”

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The article further quotes an anonymous Hollywood executive who mentions that for The Rock, all that matters is how he gets to increase his brand. The outlet said:

“Instead of making a movie, he wants to extend his brand and make a brand centered on himself… That meant positioning himself to go up against Henry Cavill’s Superman, not Zachary Levi’s goofy Shazam.”

In the end, The Rock was unsuccessful in everything. Black Adam grossed only $393 million globally on a hefty budget of $190–260 million. His dreams of being the focal point of the DC universe were over before they even began. However, had Johnson kept his ego under control, the results could have been very different and positive for all. But for now, everyone is awaiting for James Gunn’s DCU to begin with Superman: Legacy.

Shazam 2 is now playing in theaters, Black Adam is streaming on HBO Max, and Superman: Legacy will premiere on 11 July 2025.

Source: The Wrap

Written by Ishita Chatterjee

A literature graduate who loves sharing her views on everything pop-culture and entertainment. Ishita especially loves dreaming about superheroes and comic books when she isn't day dreaming about them everyday either way.