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We Finally Know The Real Reason Black Adam Wasn't In Shazam!

It's been a long time coming for Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam, who is set to finally make his DC Extended Universe debut in October 2022 after spending years in development and production limbo. But if Warner Bros. and the studio higher-ups had it their way, the anti-hero's introduction would have reportedly come a lot sooner.  

According to reports, Black Adam was originally going to make his big-screen debut co-starring in a "Shazam!" vehicle. However, those plans eventually changed. Back in 2018, the president of productions at Seven Bucks Productions, Hiram Garcia, had this to say: "We were just realizing that both characters are so special that we didn't want to compromise either of them by cramming them both into the same movie. So that's why we made the decision to let Shazam have his own standalone movie and kind of launch him properly, and then we'll do the same for Black Adam" (via Collider).

The overarching idea was that Black Adam and Shazam would eventually square off in a future film — or possibly even at the end of "Shazam!" — and introduce the Justice Society of America at some point. But the plans fell through, and now thanks to a new interview with Johnson, fans can finally know why.

Johnson felt Shazam and Black Adam deserved their own films, called Warner Bros. himself to complain

According to Dwayne Johnson, the real reason he wasn't in "Shazam!" was because he felt it would be "an incredible disservice" to the Black Adam character for Warner Bros. to just toss in the ancient Egyptian's origin story into a movie about another DC superhero — and his main rival, no less. Johnson even went so far as to call the studio himself and reportedly voiced his frustrations personally.

"I made a phone call," he explained to Variety. "I said, 'I have to share my thoughts here. It's very unpopular ...' because everybody thought, 'Hey, this script is great, let's go make this movie.' I said, 'I really think that you should make 'Shazam!,' make that movie on its own in the tone that you want. And I think we should separate this as well.'" According to Johnson, the very first script for "Shazam!" called for Black Adam and Shazam to both share the big screen together in one film, with each having their respective origin tales, but under the "Shazam!" banner.  

"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 said. "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." 

Interestingly enough, Levi has said that he actually thought Johnson was going to derail his "Shazam!" solo movie rather than give the actor his own spotlight. "I didn't think I even had a chance of getting this job," Levi explained on Dan Fogler's 4D Xperience show on YouTube in 2020. "[Johnson] was already cast as Black Adam; I knew enough to know that Captain Marvel/Shazam and Black Adam were basically doppelgängers, just with a slightly different color scheme and haircut. I was like, 'No one's gonna hire me to be The Rock's twin. Don't think this is going to work out.'"