At one promotional appearance, Dwayne Johnson proudly declared of his Black Adam movie, “The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change.” The uniquely phrased line became quoted over and over in articles about the film.
As it turns out, Johnson was right: The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe really did change. But not in Black Adam, or in Johnson’s favor. A few weeks after the film came out, Warner Bros. hired James Gunn and Peter Safran to become the new co-CEOs of DC Studios. And they have set about planning a totally new future for DC movies and shows — one that does not include Johnson or Black Adam, at least in the short term.
That’s according to Johnson himself, who updated fans about the state of his DC future in a tweet addressed to “my passionate friends.” It read, in part:
James Gunn and I connected, and Black Adam will not be in their first chapter of storytelling. However, DC and Seven Bucks have agreed to continue exploring the most valuable ways Black Adam can be utilized in future DC multiverse chapters.
Johnson added that he “will always root for DC (and Marvel) to win and WIN BIG.
This is quite a reversal from just a few months ago, when Black Adam seemed positioned to take an increasingly large role in DC movies. The film introduced the Justice Society and ended with a surprise appearance from Henry Cavill’s Superman — seemingly setting up a Black Adam sequel that might feature the character facing off with the Man of Steel. Instead, Gunn and Safran are now prepping a Superman movie (written by Gunn himself) about a younger version of Superman, and Cavill’s return as Clark Kent is over after just that single cameo appearance.
Some of this may have to do with the box office performance of Black Adam, which according to some estimates could lose up to $100 million. (Johnson himself recently tweeted that the film would turn a profit of “$52M-72M” according to his “financiers.”) Or it could simply have to do with the fact that when you’re building a new DC movie universe, you might not want a violent, angry antihero who gleefully murders his enemies to be one of its cornerstones.
You can read Johnson’s full letter below.
The next DC movie, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, is scheduled to open in theaters on March 17, 2023.
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