Dwayne Johnson’s DC Villain Black Adam to Get His Own Spinoff

After announcing plans to make a “Shazam” movie with Dwayne Johnson attached to play the antagonist Black Adam, New Line Cinema and DC Entertainment have now decided to expand the property with a second film.

New Line first announced the project in the fall of 2014 with Johnson on board to star and Darren Lemke set to pen the script. After a successful meeting with Johnson, the studio has decided to add a spinoff film to the universe that will focus on Johnson’s character.

The DC comics character Shazam, a.k.a. Captain Marvel, is the alter ego of a boy named Billy Batson. Batson can transform into a superhero by saying the word “Shazam.” Black Adam is Shazam’s arch nemesis — a character that Johnson has been eyeing for quite some time.

New Line has not yet named a writer or director for the spinoff.

Johnson is currently filming Season 3 of the HBO series “Ballers” and plans to shoot the New Line action pic “Rampage” next. His action comedy “Baywatch,” opposite Zac Efron, bows Memorial Day Weekend, and the “Jumanji” sequel, co-starring Kevin Hart, his theaters this December.

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Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam To Get His Own Supervillain Movie

Boy, the superhero economy is a truly odd duck. Way back in 2014, we learned that Dwayne Johnson would be playing Black Adam, the antagonist in DC Comics adaptation Shazam, a movie that isn't coming out until ... 2019. It didn't have anyone cast in the role of the title character, much less a director. Now, though the hypothetical film still lacks all of those (somewhat crucial) elements, it possesses a spin-off movie. EW is reporting that Johnson will star in a Black Adam solo flick at some point, and that it'll be set within the troubled DC Extended Universe, a shared cinematic world that includes Henry Cavill's Superman, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, Batfleck, and the Suicide Squad. No word on a release date, nor a director or screenwriter.

Needless to say, this kind of confidence borders on hubris, given the critical drubbing and financial underperformance of recent DCEU films — and it's especially surprising given that Shazam and Black Adam are very obscure pieces of intellectual property. That said, this could be a signal of a kind of re-orientation on Warner Bros.' part. Shazam (once known as Captain Marvel, though the existence of another character by that name in the rival Marvel Cinematic Universe has led DC Entertainment to downplay the moniker in its content) is, traditionally, a pretty sunshine-y character, and Warner has been trying to convince folks that their output is about to get funny, hopeful, and optimistic. Then again, Black Adam is not a happy dude, and Johnson recently described the character as "the most ruthless villain/anti-hero of all time," so ... we're probably just doubling down on DC's much-criticized grim-and-gritty aesthetic. One of these days, the Superhero Bubble will pop, and this announcement might look like one of its most over-inflated moments.

Dwayne Johnson’s DC Comics baddie Black Adam already lined up for spin-off movie

New Line has been developing an adaptation of DC Comics’ Shazam! for years, with Dwayne Johnson with attached to the project as far back as 2008. Now that DC Films is involved and Johnson has become one of the most bankable action movie stars in Hollywood, new plans are being made. Not only will The Rock star as the villainous Black Adam in the Shazam! film, but a spin-off painting his character as an anti-hero is also in the works.

The Hollywood Reporter has it that the two movies will be developed concurrently. Though Black Adam will be the antagonist of Shazam!, he’ll take on the role of protector in the spin-off as he defends his people from an outside threat. The story is plucked straight from DC Films’ co-head Geoff Johns recent run on the comic series, where the character fights off enemies trying to enslave the people he rules.

There’s actually some interesting opportunity for some political and social commentary in a story like this considering Black Adam’s homeland is Kahndaq, a fictional country sandwiched between Egypt and Israel. However, after a meeting with DC last week that led to this announcement, Johnson wrote an Instagram post saying there would be “tonal shifts” towards “hope, optimism & FUN” in the upcoming run of DC films. Then again, is there anything deserving of more hope and optimism than peace in the Middle East?

There’s no word yet on when a Black Adam movie might hit theaters or who would be involved in making it. Henry Gayden is reportedly reworking a script written by Billy Birch for Shazam!, which is currently slated for an April 5th, 2019 release. That’s exactly one month after Marvel plans to release the Brie Larson-starring Captain Marvel, an ironic situation for comic fans since Shazam’s original name was also Captain Marvel.

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