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Black Adam Theories That Could Change The DCEU Forever

While we wait to see Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson suited up in black and yellow as a god-like super being, fans of Black Adam are clamoring for any small detail that could tease what we'll see on the big screen.

For many, getting a standalone film focused on the titular villain-slash-antihero has been a long time coming, especially following the release of "Shazam," who boasts Black Adam as his greatest enemy. Originally, "Black Adam was planned to be part of the "Shazam" movies as far back as 2014, but in 2017 producers announced Johnson would play the character in his own film. After script revisions and delays because of the COVID-19 pandemic and Johnson's roles in other movies, filming finally began in April.

No matter what Black Adam stories we see when the film drops on July 29, 2022, the introduction of the character is all but guaranteed to change the course of the DC Extended Universe. Theories abound about how and with whom Black Adam will be portrayed on screen, and many of them relate to the future of the DCEU in a post-Snyderverse world.

Here are some of the best Black Adam theories we've found with the potential to change the DCEU forever.

Origins of Teth-Adam and Black Adam

The theory that the first "Black Adam" film will be an origin story is sort of a "duh" one, seeing as most of the first standalone superhero films focus on the main character's history. However, like most superheroes, Black Adam's origins have taken different shapes throughout his comic runs. It's likely his standalone film won't strictly adhere to any one of the origins presented in the DC comics. Rather, Black Adam's origins in the film are likely to draw from several stories with both minor and major tweaks to better connect the character to future DCEU storylines.

In the two earliest origin stories for Black Adam, the character is named Teth-Adam in his human form. In both pre-"Crisis On Infinite Earths" stories, Black Adam's origins date back to ancient Egypt, when he became the first champion for the wizard Shazam. In one version, Black Adam is corrupted by his own powers, killing the pharaoh and taking the throne for himself. Though unable to take back the powers he bestowed, the wizard Shazam renames "Mighty Adam" as Black Adam and banishes him to the far reaches of the universe.

In the revised origin story created by DC in the mid-1990s, Teth-Adam is the son of Pharaoh Ramesses II and gains powers by impressing a high priest, the wizard Shazam. Like his future nemesis, Mighty Adam utters the name of Shazam to call his powers. But after being the wizard's champion in Egypt for centuries, Mighty Adam is corrupted by the wizard's evil daughter, killing the pharaoh and taking the throne. In this origin, Shazam rids Adam of his powers and locks them in a scarab necklace, burying it and the withered body of the now-named Black Adam in the tomb of Ramesses II.

Newer origin stories for Black Adam are the ones more likely to be seen on screen, as Johnson has shared details from the mythology in posts related to his physical training to play the character. In these, Teth-Adam is from the fictional country Kahndaq, where he was a slave and his whole family was killed. When he is gifted with powers alongside his nephew, whom he helped escape slavery, Teth-Adam is corrupted into Black Adam because of his rage and desire for vengeance.

The Black Adam origin story we see on screen probably won't mirror what's in the comics very closely, but Johnson has all but confirmed he's been shooting scenes connected to the character's North African-Middle Eastern origins and his past with the wizard Shazam.

As powerful as Shazam and Superman

DC comics fans are aware of just how powerful Black Adam is, especially when compared to his more heroic counterpart Shazam (formerly known as Captain Marvel in the comics) and the Kryptonian Superman. Not an alien like Superman, Black Adam's powers are, like Shazam's, tied to magic. And, when star Johnson teased the film's release date, he bluntly stated that "the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change." That has strong implications for the future of the DCEU, which up until this point has put Superman at the top as the most powerful being on Earth.

Black Adam's powers derive from those of ancient Egyptian gods: Shu, Horus, Amon, Zehuti, Aten, and Mehen. For Shazam, the acronym is from "immortals" Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury. Like his nemesis, Black Adam has super strength and speed, the ability to fly, near-immortality and the ability to generate and wield powerful bolts of lightning. Black Adam and Shazam are essentially equal in power.

Johnson has teased a possible future standoff between Black Adam and the Man of Steel, which got us thinking: who would win in a fight between Black Adam and Superman? When it comes to brute strength, Black Adam and Superman appear to be well-matched. But, besides Superman's kryptonite being, well, kryptonite, the Man of Steel has another weakness: magic –- where Black Adam draws his power.

Black Adam vs. Superman

Johnson's teases about the hierarchy of the DCEU bring us to a future where we get to see Superman and Black Adam punch it out on the big screen, which would be a DCEU-defining epic clash of titans. It's not likely to happen in the first film or even be confirmed anytime soon, but both Johnson and Superman actor Henry Cavill have hinted at a potential showdown in the future. And there's plenty of source material to glean from, as Black Adam has actually taken on Superman in the comics.

The Black Adam vs. Superman theory mill started churning way back in 2016 when Cavill shared a photo of himself with Johnson on Instagram, writing, "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Superman and Black Adam," accompanied by the hashtag #DCWorldsWillCollide. Then, during an interview with MTV in 2018, Cavill revealed that "there is definitely some kind of work towards" a Black Adam-Superman showdown.

However, if and when that battle does happen, Cavill said he's confident Black Adam will have to face Shazam first. "You never know, maybe there will be a Superman movie and Shazam will come and help," Cavill said in the interview.

The Big Baddie of Shazam 3?

Fans may be hoping for a Black Adam appearance in "Shazam 2," but unfortunately, that's unlikely to happen. In a Q&A on Instagram in June 2021, "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" director David F. Sandberg confirmed Black Adam would not appear in the "Shazam" sequel because "he has his own movie." But Shazam himself, Zachary Levi, has teased the possibility of a crossover with the two characters in a third film. "If we do a third 'Shazam!' and a second 'Black Adam'; kind of like that, that's where we would [meet]," Levi said during the CCXP Cologne conference in Germany in 2019.

About a year later, Levi confirmed he has no insight into any possible plans for a Black Adam vs. Shazam crossover, but is still hopeful he'll face Johnson's character in the future.

Black Adam and Shazam are written as polar opposites and nemeses to one another. Not quite the Batman-Joker relationship, Black Adam and Shazam are more like yin and yang. Throughout their stints in the comics, Black Adam and Shazam/Billy Batson have been enemies, "frenemies," and even points of redemption. Black Adam's modern status as a complicated antihero could lend itself to some truly epic and compelling crossover storylines in the future.

Justice Society of America and the DCEU

While it's already been confirmed that key members of the Justice Society of America will appear in the "Black Adam" film, what isn't clear yet is how these superheroes will interact with the antihero. Like his relationship with Shazam/Billy Batson, Black Adam's story arcs of villainy, redemption, and anti-heroism connect him to many other characters in the DCEU, specifically those in the Justice Society of America.

During a DC FanDome panel for "Black Adam" in August 2020, Johnson revealed JSA characters Hawkman, Doctor Fate and Cyclone would join him in the film. Atom Smasher was previously announced and will be played by Noah Centineo. Since then, Aldis Hodge was announced as Hawkman, Quintessa Swindell signed on as Cyclone, and Pierce Brosnan was announced to play Doctor Fate. Sarah Shahi has also joined the film as Adrianna Tomaz, billed as a resistance fighter in Kahndaq.

The JSA is similar to DC's Justice League in more than name only –- it's been called "the League of Nations to the Justice League's UN." The JSA is actually older than the JL by nearly 20 years in the comics, and has included such iconic characters as the Flash, Green Lantern, Sandman, Black Canary, and even Wonder Woman.

The complexities of when and how the JSA and JL exist in the DCEU are what make the possibilities for a Black Adam/JSA franchise so intriguing. When it comes to comic book superheroes, introducing just one character on the big screen -– let alone an entire team -– creates a ripple effect of possibilities and theories for crossovers and universe-connecting events.

The Black Adam-verse

Black Adam may open the door for the Justice Society and other characters to enter the DCEU, but he's certainly not a means to an end. In May 2021, producer Dany Garcia told Variety that she and her team are "excited about our long-term relationship with DC on this property" and that they "want to do many" films starring Johnson as Black Adam.

It's not surprising, as DC also likes to build franchises around characters that connect them to others and the larger universe. But with "Black Adam," especially with Johnson as the lead, building a franchise not only allows other characters to be introduced but also gives time and space to flesh out the complexity of the antihero and further explore his comic origins.

Johnson is also one of the biggest movie stars in the world, attracting people to the theater even if they know nothing about the character he plays. Even with the darker origins of the character Black Adam, Johnson's ability to entertain people of all ages could help the DCEU films reach a wider, more mainstream audience.

The future of the DCEU

If we're talking about Black Adam's franchise-launching qualities, there are some discussions out there related to expanding the DCEU while keeping the films and characters interconnected. One such theory comes from Reddit user Alexandrite1234, and points to a potential JSA spinoff following the group's introduction in "Black Adam." The user also notes the potential for Hourman to make a cameo in "Black Adam" or in a future JSA movie.

In March 2021, it was reported that Warner Bros. and DC Films were working on a film focusing on Hourman, who's had multiple incarnations in the comics since first being introduced in the pages of "Stargirl." With Hourman's and Black Adam's connections to the JSA, there is potential to introduce a version of Hourman alongside those characters in upcoming films.

There's equal potential for the character Doctor Fate, who is set to appear with the JSA in "Black Adam." Doctor Fate's powers are also magical in nature and connect to a mystical being in ancient Egypt. As a founding member of the JSA, which existed during the Golden Age of heroes, the inclusion of the character could point to the era that Black Adam will portray.

With the introduction of Black Adam and the high possibility of multiple films bearing his name, the character and Johnson are theorized to lead the DCEU in an entirely new direction from Zack Snyder's Justice League-centered films. It wouldn't be surprising to see Black Adam and key characters he connects to, like Shazam and the JSA, become the next DCEU anchors. As attention shifts away from Ben Affleck's Batman and Henry Cavill's Superman, films like "Black Adam," "Shazam!" and even "Birds of Prey" signal a key tonal shift in the DCEU's future.

Restoring the Snyderverse

There have been rumors swirling for a while that Johnson wants his Black Adam character and films to connect to their predecessors, the entries in Zack Snyder's "Snyderverse." There have been reports and rumors that Johnson is going to bat for the Snyderverse continuity to be restored within the DCEU and to let Snyder finish his plans for further Justice League movies.

A big part of that push, reportedly, is that Johnson wants to see his character interact with the likes of Superman, Batman, and others in the Justice League. And recently, Snyder himself addressed the rumors saying he believes Black Adam "could fit in the world" created by his earlier DC movies.

There's been no confirmation directly from Johnson, DC Films, or Warner Bros. as to whether there is indeed a push to restore the Snyderverse through upcoming films like "Black Adam." But that doesn't stop fans from hoping and continuing to share #RestoretheSnyderverse takes.

World War III

Yes, Black Adam literally started "World War III" –- a series of DC comics that ran in the early 2000s. And beyond the character's first standalone film, fans are theorizing how Black Adam could bring about global events like World War III and connect dozens of other characters to the next phase of the DCEU.

The "World War III" crossover event saw the murders of Black Adam's family by the Four Horsemen of Apokolips. The deaths of his wife and brother-in-law pushed Black Adam over the edge, especially because his wife, Isis, used her last breath to tell him to avenge her death. So, Black Adam decides to get revenge on the entire world.

To try to save the world from Black Adam's rage-filled grief, a slew of superhero teams unite to stop him, including the Justice League, the Justice Society, the Doom Patrol, the Teen Titans, and the Suicide Squad. These super teams –- already seen in other DC films and shows in recent years -– combined with the fact that actor Sarah Shahi has been cast in "Black Adam" to play Adrianna Tomaz (who becomes the goddess Isis in the comics) has fans positing the theory that the "World War III" storyline could work perfectly in a sequel film.

The return of Shazam villains

While fans debate the anti-heroism or villainy of Black Adam, there hasn't been as much discussion about the upcoming film's big baddie -– who or what it could be. Sure, Black Adam has some serious villainous tendencies himself, but there still has to be some sort of antagonist in the upcoming film.

The most intriguing theories about the film's villain point to the return of characters we first saw in "Shazam!" and might not see in its sequel: Mister Mind and the Seven Deadly Sins. The Seven Deadly Sins were entombed by the end of the origin movie. As for Mister Mind, the unassuming super-intelligent caterpillar, had a shocking cameo in a post-credits scene in which he talked to primary antagonist Dr. Thaddeus Sivana in prison. However, there's been no word about the second Shazam film, "Fury of the Gods," including the character.

Another theory for a "Black Adam" villain –- or even just an post-credit cameo –- are the Four Horsemen of Apokolips. Considering that the Horsemen of the comics were responsible for the deaths of Black Adam's family and the destruction of Kahndaq, it would make perfect sense for them to have a huge impact on his big screen character arc.