In a preview of the upcoming DC movie Black Adam in Vanity Fair, the film’s star and producer took at least partial responsibility for the decision to split the films.
“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 the magazine. “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.’”
The actor-producer went on to say that while the character of Black Adam sharing an origins story wouldn’t have work, “Shazam having two origin stories converge in one movie” would have been “fine.”
On that belief, he went on to lobby for his antihero to get his own film, with Johnson revealing that he “made a phone call” where he shared his “unpopular” opinion.
“I said, ‘I have to share my thoughts here,’” he recalled. “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.’”
The decision to give Shazam and Black Adam their respective stories was first reported back in 2017, following a meeting with Johnson and then DC Films co-head Geoff Johns. The actor-producer had been attached to the projects since 2008, but in the years since, his profile in Hollywood had grown significantly.
According to sources who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, keeping Johnson a supporting villain made less sense.