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Black Adam

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What happens when you take someone with all the powers of Superman – and you strip away the “truth, justice, and the American Way?” What if that being of superhuman size and strength is played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? And what if he’s given a film where he lays the smackdown on some of the most beloved heroes in DC Comics history? Then, you have Black Adam, the upcoming spin-off movie from 2019’s Shazam!. But, you don’t need to dig through the near 80-year(!) history of the character to watch the movie.

For those who don’t know who Black Adam is, or when the movie is coming out, or who else involved, don’t worry. HollywoodLife has the details you need to know right here.

Who is Black Adam?

Black Adam is the “evil” version of Shazam, Zachary Levi’s character from 2019’s Shazam. However, both Black Adam and Shazam originate from comics published in the 1940s.

Black Adam
The Rock in ‘Black Adam’ (Photo: Warner Bros.)

“One of the world’s foremost wielders of magic, Black Adam has been both hero and villain over a life that’s spanned thousands of years,” reads the character’s official bio on the DC Comics website. Black Adam was the first champion picked by the wizard Shazam – not to be confused with the caped superhero Shazam – to be a “magically empowered hero.”

“Teth-Adam, or ‘Mighty Adam,’ began as a hero of humanity, but then allowed his power to corrupt his ideals and desires,” reads Black Adam’s bio. “Now labeled Black Adam, he was exiled by Shazam but returned in the modern-day. A frequent enemy to Earth’s heroes, Black Adam believes he is the right person to lead humanity, and any action he takes is necessary for the greater good.” Thus, Black Adam is more of an “anti-hero,” though, with a name like Black Adam, it should not be that surprising that he skews more “bad” than “good.”

In the 1994 comic book series, The Power of Shazam!, per Cinemablend, Teth-Adam was depicted as the son of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II. After Adam’s corruption, Shazam the wizard, stripped his champion of his magical powers, causing him to age rapidly and become a corpse. Flash forward a thousand years and – Spoiler Alert!– Theo Adam aides a pair of researchers who discover Black Adam’s tomb and the scarab where Shazam the wizard kept his disgraced champion’s powers. Theo kills the researchers, transforms into the new Black Adam, and realized that Teth-Adam was his ancestor. Oh, and those researchers? They were the parents of Billy Batson, the child who the wizard picks to Shazam.

The Rock
The Rock in ‘Black Adam; (Photo: Warner Bros.)

As for why there are two Shazams, the caped superhero used to go by the title Captain Marvel, which becomes even more confusing when you realize there is a Marvel Comics (and Marvel has its own character called Captain Marvel.) Comics are weird.

By uttering the word “Shazam” – a magical word that invokes the names of ancient Egyptian gods Shu, Horus, Amon, Zehuti, Aten, and Mehen, thus S-H-A-Z-A-M – Teth-Adam gains a bevy of powers. He has super strength, the power of flight, invulnerability, super speed, superhuman hearing, an enhanced intelligence, and a healing factor. He also has the occasional bit of lightning-based teleportation.

There have been some rewrites and retcons to his character over the years. Black Adam has been changed from an Egyptian to a Kahndaqian. Theo Adam gets erased, and Black Adam is a slave who stole the powers that were meant for another. The gods that made up Black Adam’s “Shazam” got switched from Egyptian to Greek. Despite all this, the character has had, for the most part, the same powers.

Black Adam has made appearances in many DC properties. He was mentioned in the “Isis” episode of Smallville. The character showed up in many animated DC properties, like Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice, and Justice League Action. He appeared in the animated film Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam, and in both the Injustice and Injustice 2 video games.

What Is The Plot Of The Movie?

The official trailer for Black Adam dropped in June 2022 and teased what’s to come in the film. “I was a slave until I died. Then I was reborn a god. My son sacrificed his life to save me. Now, I kneel before no one,” Black Adam says in the trailer. He goes on to declare that he does kill people, as footage shows Black Adam in the middle of some wild action with the other characters.

The film’s official longline reads, “Nearly 5,000 years after receiving the almighty powers of the Egyptian gods and being imprisoned just as quickly, Black Adam is freed from his earthly tomb, ready to unleash his unique form of justice on the modern world.”

When Is ‘Black Adam’ Coming Out & Where?

Black Adam is scheduled to be released in the United States on October 21, 2022. It was initially set for a December 2021 release date but was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film will be released in theaters and then will eventually be available to stream on HBO Max.

Who Is In ‘Black Adam’s Cast?

The Rock
The Rock in ‘Black Adam’ (Warner Bros.)

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will play Black Adam, marking his first foray into superhero movies.

“Like most kids growing up, I dreamed about being a superhero. Having cool superpowers, fighting for what’s right, and always protecting the people,” Dwayne wrote in 2019. “It all changed for me, when I was ten years old and was first introduced to the greatest superhero of all time – SUPERMAN. As a kid, Superman was the hero I always wanted to be. But, a few years into my fantasy, I realized that Superman was the hero, I could never be. I was too rebellious. Too rambunctious. Too resistant to convention and authority. Despite my troubles, I was still a good kid with a good heart – I just liked to do things my way. Now, years later as a man, with the same DNA I had as a kid – my superhero dreams have come true. I’m honored to join the iconic DCUniverse and it’s a true pleasure to become, BLACK ADAM.”

“BLACK ADAM is blessed by magic with the powers equal to SUPERMAN, but the difference is he doesn’t toe the mark or walk the line. He’s a rebellious, one-of-a-kind superhero, who’ll always do what’s right for the people – but he does it his way,” added The Rock. “Truth and justice – the BLACK ADAM way. This role is unlike any other I’ve ever played in my career, and I’m grateful to the bone we’ll all go on this journey together.”

Joining Black Adam in this movie will be members of the Justice Society of America, the first-ever team of superheroes in comic books (the JSA predates the Justice League of America by about twenty years.) The JSA frequently teamed with Shazam. So, it makes sense that they would factor into Black Adam.

Additional cast members include Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate, an archaeologist who commands magic through his mystical helmet; Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, the leader of the JSA who flies with magic metal hawk wings; Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, who can control wind and generate sound; and Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, a man who can change his size and strength by manipulating his molecular structure. Sarah Shahi is playing Adrianna Tomaz, who will be important for the Black Adam story in her own way.

Jaume Collet-Serra is the director of Black Adam. He’s previously directed horror films such as Orphan and The Shallows. Black Adam is being produced by New Line Cinema, DC Films, Seven Bucks Productions, and FlynnPictureCo. Warner Bros. Pictures is distributing the film.

What Is Expected To Happen In ‘Black Adam’?

Dwayne Johnson at the ‘Central Intelligence’ premiere (Shutterstock)

Black Adam is a spin-off of 2019’s Shazam!. A sequel to the 2019 movie, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, has been announced with a December 2022 release date. Zachary Levi is not currently listed in the cast of Black Adam, meaning that this film might set up a potential clash between Shazam and Black Adam in Fury of the Gods.

The movie will also continue to build upon the DC Extended Universe of films. The Suicide Squad, which came out in 2021, and 2023’s The Flash and Aquaman 2 are part of the DCEU. Prior films include Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey, and Zach Snyder’s Justice League.

Black Adam will introduce The Rock into the DCEU and perhaps set him up as either the next great hero – or the next great villain. Either way, it’ll be an electrifying ride when Black Adam hits theaters

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