“Kahndaq needed a hero. Instead, they got me.” Hollywood megastar Dwayne Johnson is on his way to the DC Extended Universe, in the boots of the supervillain/anti-hero Black Adam. Primarily a nemesis for the superhero Shazam, Black Adam will first appear in his own movie, simply titled Black Adam, due for release in 2022.
Here’s everything we know about Black Adam so far, from its long development history (dating back to 2007) to current plot details, casting, trailers, and more. Bookmark this page and check back often as we’ll update this page with more information as it is released.
When is the Black Adam release date?
Black Adam will be released in theaters on July 29, 2022. The movie was originally scheduled for December 22, 2021, but due to the coronavirus pandemic delaying filming, the movie’s release date was pushed into the summer of 2022.
What is Black Adam?
Black Adam is a new superhero movie set in the DCEU. It will share continuity with films like Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Shazam! (2019), and The Suicide Squad (2021). But the movie more or less still stands on its own, acting as Black Adam’s origin story in ancient Kahndaq to his arrival in the modern 21st century.
Who is Black Adam?
Black Adam is a supervillain turned anti-hero from the DC Universe. He first appeared in Marvel Family #1 by Shazam creators Otto Binder and C.C. Beck.
Black Adam is primarily the antagonist of Shazam (formerly Captain Marvel), but throughout the ‘90s, he underwent a shift towards the morally gray status of “anti-hero.” He’s not necessarily evil, but his methods to save the world don’t mesh well with the Justice League, either.
While Black Adam’s origin story has undergone several revisions, the main gist is that Black Adam is an ancient Egyptian named Teth-Adam. His purity brings him to the powerful wizard Shazam, who grants him the same powers Shazam later gives to Billy Batson.
Teth-Adam is given the name “Mighty Adam” by Shazam. But when Teth-Adam uses his powers to kill and overthrow the pharaoh, an enraged Shazam banishes Mighty Adam — now calling him “Black Adam” — to the edges of the universe.
Black Adam spends five thousand years traveling back to Earth. Arriving in modern-day, Black Adam comes face-to-face with his childish successor, Billy Batson.
Black Adam, the 2022 movie, adapts several different elements from various iterations of Black Adam’s story. These key differences are worth mentioning:
- In the film, Teth-Adam hails from a fictional, North African nation of Kahndaq. Kahndaq was part of a revised origin by writers Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer, who collaborated on the DC comics series Justice Society of America from 1999 to 2006.
- Also in the film, Dwayne Johnson teases that Teth-Adam begins the story as a slave in Kahndaq. This is inspired by the post-Flashpoint reboot of the DC Universe in 2011, where Teth-Adam was a slave who shared the powers of Shazam with Aman, his nephew. When Aman wanted to spread hope rather than pursue revenge, Adam killed Aman and took the powers for himself to exact revenge on his captors. (In the prior canon by Jerry Ordway, Teth-Adam was the royal son of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II.)
- The film will introduce the Justice Society of America (a different team of heroes who predate the Justice League) to the DCEU, with characters like Hawkman, Atom Smasher, Cyclone, and Doctor Fate. Black Adam was a big part of DC’s JSA comic books in the late ‘90s/early ‘00s, in a run that redefined Black Adam from villain to morally gray anti-hero.
Who is starring in Black Adam?
In addition to Dwayne Johnson in the title role, the movie will also star the following:
- Aldis Hodge (The Invisible Man) as Hawkman, an Egyptian prince named Prince Khufu who is reincarnated as an archaeologist named Carter Hall.
- Noah Centineo (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before) as Atom Smasher, a metahuman with super strength and the ability to change his body’s molecular structure (in other words, he can get big). Fun fact: WWE alumni Adam “Edge” Copeland played Atom Smasher in an episode of The Flash. Both Johnson and Copeland wrestled each other a few times during their WWE days.
- Quintessa Swindell (Trinkets) as Cyclone, who has the power of flight and wind manipulation. She is the granddaughter of the superhero Red Tornado and made her unofficial debut in the acclaimed DC series Kingdom Come. She made her official appearance in the relaunched Justice Society of America #1 in 2006.
- Sarah Shahi (The L Word) as Adrianna Tomaz, a university professor and resistance fighter in Kahndaq
- Pierce Brosnan (former James Bond) as Doctor Fate, a sorcerer whose powers come from enchanted relics including a helmet, an amulet, and a cloak. Though many have taken on the mantle of “Doctor Fate,” Brosnan will portray the first Doctor Fate, Kent Nelson.
- Marwan Kenzari (Aladdin, The Old Guard) in an undisclosed role.
- Uli Latukefu, who plays a younger version of Johnson in Young Rock, in an undisclosed role.
Who is directing Black Adam?
Jaume Collet-Serra, who directed several Liam Neeson action films like Unknown (2011), Non-Stop (2014), Run All Night (2015), and The Commuter (2018), is directing Black Adam. The DC movie will be the second collaboration between Collet-Serra and Johnson, having previously worked on the recently-released Disney movie Jungle Cruise.
Who wrote Black Adam?
In 2017, Rampage writer Adam Sztykiel wrote the first draft of Black Adam. Johnson himself praised Sztykiel’s involvement, writing on Twitter: “Excited to expand the DC Universe w/ writer Adam Sztykiel (co-wrote @rampagethemovie) and bring this complex & gritty anti-hero to the big screen. This character’s in my bones. Ruthless code.”
In February 2021, The Hollywood Reporter reported that writers Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani (The Mauritanian) “wrote the latest draft” of the movie.
Is there a trailer for Black Adam?
At DC FanDome 2020, DC released a teaser trailer made up of animated concept art and narration by Dwayne Johnson. The trailer succinctly gives an overview of Black Adam’s premise as well as the aggressive voice of Dwayne Johnson as Teth-Adam. You can watch the teaser below.
Then, at DC FanDome 2021, we got our first look at Teth-Adam in live-action. A minute-and-a-half clip dropped from the film shows the titular character being awakened and laying the smackdown on the mortals around him. You can watch below.
Wasn’t Dwayne Johnson set as Black Adam a long time ago?
Oh yes. io9 has a more comprehensive breakdown, but Johnson’s attachment to a Black Adam movie has been in the works since 2007. Years later, in 2014, Johnson finally confirmed on Twitter that he will play Black Adam in a movie. Johnson spent the next several years talking about Black Adam, repeatedly making mention of the character’s vague moral compass.
In 2017, Johnson said in a YouTube Q&A:
“Yes, of course, Black Adam—in the mythology—is a villain. Or he can be considered an antihero. Or, to some, he’s a hero. To some who have a black heart, like me. Again, I love the backstory that he started off as a slave and he was held down. I think that kind of backstory—about a man who’s held down and he rises up out of that to become greater and then dealing with the conflict and pain of losing his family—it’s dark. But it also adds to the gravity and adds to the weight of the story. And it means to me, uh, he’s a hero.”
Rumors of a Dwayne Johnson cameo in Shazam! in 2019 didn’t pan out, though the movie had a deleted scene that hinted at a “seventh member” of the family. By the end of 2019, the film had a director and cinematographer (Larry Sher) and even a 2021 release date. But the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 delayed filming to April 2021 and a release date of July 2022.
Black Adam will be released in theaters on July 29, 2022.
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