It’s been like four years since Dwayne Johnson first hinted that he was finally getting into the superhero game, announcing that he’d be playing the villainous Black Adam in some sort of upcoming movie based off of D.C.’s Shazam line of comics. Said declaration led to some raised eyebrows a few years later, though, as it became increasingly clear that, while Warner Bros. was definitely making a Shazam! movie, Johnson and Black Adam were nowhere in sight. Now, Hiram Garcia—who’s listed as a producer on both Shazam! and a still somewhat hypothetical Black Adam movie—has offered some insight on the issue, telling Collider that Johnson’s Adam is just too big and badass of a character to be shoved into another hero’s origin story.
A bit of background for you: In the comics, Adam is not only one of the primary antagonists of Billy Batson/Captain Marvel—alongside mad scientist Dr. Sivana and worm-shaped alien criminal Mr. Mind—but the one with the closest link to his powers. That is, they both got them from the wizard Shazam, although Adam famously uses his more for ripping dudes apart than for sharing a soda with his teenage best bud.
One of the big reasons for the movie split, though, apparently comes down to the changes in how Adam has been portrayed in comics over the last few decades, and how they’ll bleed into Johnson’s movie portrayal. Although he was once a pure supervillain, more recent comics have depicted Adam as a more traditional antihero, attempting to find some measure of redemption while still—again—cheerfully ripping people apart if they mess with him. As such, a Shazam!-Black Adam crossover would be a very weird tonal fit, and would make it a lot harder to fit Billy’s arc into a single film. (Also, and we’re not trying to be mean, but sticking him next to a badass, take-no-shit version of The Rock might not be the best way to sell Zachary Levi as a believable action hero.)
There’s no word yet on when Black Adam might smash its way onto a release schedule, but according to Garcia, Johnson’s team is apparently “deep into a script” for the movie right now. (He also described Johnson as a “living superhero,” which, well…Fair enough.)