Do you smell what The Rock is cooking? You should because it’s likely going to be a plan to take over and possibly destroy the world when he dons the iconic black spandex to play Black Adam in Warner Bros. and DC Comics’ Shazam movie. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been dropping hints that he would be playing either Shazam or Black Adam for a while now, but today he put all the speculation to rest with a single tweet:
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) September 3, 2014
This is pretty brilliant casting all around as The Rock seems like he’ll be able to lend the right amount of charisma and crazed villainy to Billy Baton’s arrogant adversary. For those of you not in the know, Black Adam was created in 1945 by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck as a villain for Fawcett Comics’ Marvel Family. Once DC Comics began publishing Shazam comics in the 1970s, they revived the character as the corrupted, ancient Egyptian forebear to Captain Marvel/Shazam. In later years, though, Black Adam would become more of an anti-hero, a man willing to use extreme violence and murder in the name of rendering justice unto those who have wronged him and his people.
As per Jerry Ordway’s run in The Power of Shazam!, Teth-Adam, the son of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II, impressed one of the high priests, the legendary wizard Shazam, with his good deeds and was imbued with the power to become Mighty-Adam by uttering that familiar acronym, “Shazam!” Unfortunately, Adam was seduced and corrupted by Shazam’s evil daughter Blaze, who convinced him to slay the Pharaoh and appoint himself ruler. Learning of this betrayal, Shazam stripped Adam of his powers, trapped them in a scarab necklace, which caused Adam to wither and die as the aging process his powers had staved off caught up with him. Deemed “Khem-Adam” (Black Adam) for his betrayal, Shazam buried him and the necklace in Ramesses II’s tomb, where he intended them to remain for all eternity. However, nothing ever stays buried in the DC Universe.
In later years, writers like Geoff Johns and David S. Goyer slightly tweaked Adam’s origin story, moving his origin from Egypt to the fictional North African nation of Kahndaq. His considerable rage now stems from the conquering of Kahndaq and the murder of his wife and child at the hands of supervillain Ahk-ton (who bears a striking resemblance to Metamorpho), who was working with notorious immortal time-traveling jerkhole Vandal Savage. Thousands of years later, Black Adam was revived, and after fighting alongside the Justice Society of America for a while, Adam and his teammate Atom Smasher defected in order to take over Kahndaq by force from its iron-fisted rulers. Though many of the other heroes of the DC Universe disagree with his cold, calculated worldview, the people of Kahndaq are generally grateful to their conquering hero even if his arrogance is still his fatal flaw.
It’s more than likely that the Kahndaq storyline will be the one that DC and WB use for their Shazam film as it lets them draw parallels to modern day tensions in North Africa and the Middle East while extricating themselves from the reality of it by using a fictional country. Still, I am very excited to see Black Adam’s hot-headedness, rage, and compassion brought to life by The Rock on the big screen. Now to play the waiting game until, presumably, 2017 or 2018.
What do you think of The Rock playing Black Adam? Let us know in the comments below or tell me on Twitter.