Dwayne Johnson is joining the DCEU this October by way of Black Adam, but his character was very nearly introduced in another movie – until The Rock put his very sizeable foot down.
Black Adam was supposed to appear in 2019 superhero movie Shazam!. The original plan was for the film to introduce Zachary Levi’s titular hero to the world, as well as Johnson’s anti-hero.
Johnson agreed to that plan, then had a change of heart, which in turn changed the trajectory of Shazam! and its storyline.
On the eve of his appearance at San Diego Comic-Con to promote the film, Johnson explained what happened.
What did Dwayne Johnson say about Black Adam’s non-appearance in Shazam!?
Speaking to Den of Geek about the crossover non-event, Johnson said: “There was always something funky about that. I just didn’t feel it in my gut 100%… I didn’t think we should go in that direction.”
Johnson called the powers-that-be concerned about “a collision of tone and energy” and ultimately they agreed, with Black Adam getting a standalone origin story.
Looking back on the decision, Johnson said: “I think it would have been fine for Shazam, but not good for Black Adam.”
Why Black Adam is the Dirty Harry of superheroes
In the same interview, Johnson called his character a “disruptor,” and revealed that his director Juame Collett-Sera made a surprizing comparison.
“This world of superheroes has been around a long time and is responsible for a lot of massive business in our industry. It’s responsible for some of the greatest movies of all time. But now you have this guy who, as our director likes to call him, is the Dirty Harry of superheroes,” he said.
Dirty Harry is super-cop Harry Callahan, who was played by Clint Eastwood across multiple movies. He became an anti-hero thanks to his disdain for authority, no-nonsense attitude, and very personal sense of morality, and Black Adam is being framed much the same way in the DCEU.
Black Adams hits screens October 21.