Now that we can smell what The Rock is cooking when it comes to his upcoming DC Entertainment movie collaboration, it’s time to talk about what he’s not cooking: a “Justice League” role.
This week, Dwayne Johnson announced that he is playing Black Adam in Warner Bros. and DC’s upcoming adaptation of “Shazam.” If you don’t know who Black Adam is (or what a Shazam is, for that matter), he’s a magically-infused badass (do you expect anything less from Johnson?) who butts heads with the equally magical Billy Batson, a 12-year-old boy who transforms into Shazam, a superhero with veritable Superman poise and physique.
Though Black Adam and Shazam both exist in the same DC universe as Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, they don’t necessarily lend themselves to the grounded, gritty tone of “Man of Steel,” and, presumably, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” So maybe it won’t come as a huge surprise to hear that the upcoming “Shazam” film will follow its own path, veering away from plans for the upcoming “Justice League” movie.
“It feels to me like ‘Shazam’ will have a tone unto itself,” New Line’s Toby Emmerich tells Entertainment Weekly about the Rock-starring movie. “It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character, and it’s not a Marvel comic. The tone and the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies.”
Emmerich added that “Shazam” fans can expect the movie to have “a sense of fun and a sense of humor” while still boasting a high-stakes story — relieving words to hear, but surprising ones as well, given recent rumors that the DC Comics movies have a “no joke” policy.
As for the film’s take on Black Adam, traditionally depicted as a villain for Billy Batson’s purer hero, Emmerich described Johnson’s character as “complex.”
“The villain in superhero movies is often, I think, what makes the movie,” he said. “And I thought Dwayne’s take on the character, and the way that he saw Black Adam, was really compelling and fun.”
There’s currently no release date for “Shazam,” but Warner Bros. has carved out a bunch of release dates for unannounced DC Comics projects:
• Untitled DC Film – August 5, 2016
• Untitled DC Film – June 23, 2017
• Untitled DC Film – November 17, 2017
• Untitled DC Film – March 23, 2018
• Untitled DC Film – July 27, 2018
• Untitled DC Film – April 5, 2019
• Untitled DC Film – June 14, 2019
• Untitled DC Film – April 3, 2020
• Untitled DC Film – June 19, 2020
Expect “Shazam” on one of those dates.