The Rock is the reason Black Adam and Shazam were kept separate

Black Adam trailer
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Black Adam and Shazam were initially supposed to make their DC debut as a villain-hero team, but it was Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who kept the two apart.

“When the first draft of the movie came to us, it was a combination of Black Adam and Shazam: Two origin stories in one movie,” Johnson told Vanity Fair. “Now that was the goal, so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But when I read that, I just knew in my gut, ‘We can’t make this movie like this. We would be doing Black Adam an incredible disservice.’ It would’ve been fine for Shazam having two origin stories converge in one movie, but not good for Black Adam.”

Black Adam made his first appearance in 1945's Marvel Family #1 from Fawcett Comics, as an intended one-off villain. After DC purchased several of Fawcett's characters, Black Adam became Shazam's main arch-nemesis (a la Batman and the Joker). While it would make sense to put both characters in one debut movie, Johnson is right: Black Adam has a slightly more complicated backstory that might become muddled in a joint origin-story type of film.

"What makes Black Adam very unique and different is that he lives by a code, too," Johnson explained to Total Film in the new issue, which features Black Adam on the cover. "If you attempt to harm his people, his family, his country, or him, he will rip you in half. He will literally grab you by the neck, and then grab you by the thigh, and rip your body into two pieces."

Black Adam hits theaters October 21, 2022. For more, check out our list of all the upcoming superhero movies flying your way in 2022 and beyond.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.