Warning: potential SPOILERS for Shazam!
With the Shazam! movie following the hero’s comic book origin, fans were right to expect Black Adam would play the villain. But we have theory: even if Adam doesn’t appear in the flesh, Shazam! may have already confirmed his role in setting up the DCEU.
With the movie taking such obvious inspiration from Geoff Johns’ 2011 Shazam reboot comic, it didn’t take long for the entire industry to presume the Shazam! movie would include Black Adam. After all, that comic was as much an origin story for Billy Batson’s arch nemesis as it was for himself. And with Dwayne Johnson publicly playing the villain/antihero long before Zachary Levi was cast, it was a foregone conclusion that Johnson would star in their eventual debut. Eventually, other rumors suggested that Black Adam would debut in Suicide Squad 2, although that was before it was reported that James Gunn would ‘reboot’ the Suicide Squad in a story all his own.
So, when will Black Adam make his presence known in the DCEU? Well, if fans pay close attention to the Shazam! footage shown so far, they may actually see Black Adam’s impact loud and clear.
- This Page: Shazam! Already Hinted at Black Adam’s Role
- Page 2: How Black Adam Likely Set Shazam! in Motion
Shazam! Confirms The Council of Eternity
While the key piece of evidence was visible from the very first Shazam! trailer, the majesty of seeing Billy Batson enter the movie version of The Rock of Eternity is distracting. And most distracting to the comic fans who would actually be able to spot, then appreciate the meaning of the set decoration. The version of The Rock of Eternity introduced in the DCEU isn’t home to just one throne from which The Wizard might rule… but seven of them.
It’s easier to notice the entire semi-circle of thrones in the second Shazam! TV spot, which includes an overhead shot of the space. It’s unremarkable for now, with the dim light illuminating only the platform of thrones, and the staircase leading up to it (and the statues that held the Seven Sins, if our theory is correct). But those thrones are all that’s needed to confirm that Shazam! isn’t just making The Wizard canon–it’s making the entire Council of Eternity canon, too.
Only The Wizard Shazam is Left Alive
Hopefully even casual movie fans can appreciate the importance of the empty thrones beside The Wizard Shazam, and the question their vacancies are meant to pose. The Council of Eternity, as introduced in the modern world of DC Comics, were a collection of seven magic users from cultures across the globe (Egyptian, Native American, Chinese, etc.). While they were once famous in the ancient world, Billy learned of them in basically the same way as the movie looks to telling the story.
An empty hall. An empty ring of thrones. And one old, weak, desperate wizard. A wizard with no choice but to choose his final champion–a godlike hero made from an everyday human to carry on his power. And most importantly, to stand against the previous champion who brought ruin to the entire Council of Eternity. The previous champion chosen by the Council, and the previous champion that Shazam! may have just confirmed to exist in the DCEU. The previous champion fans know best as Black Adam.
Page 2 of 2: How Black Adam Likely Set Shazam! in Motion
Black Adam Destroyed The Council (in The Comics)
When Geoff Johns rebooted the Shazam mythology and hero as part of DC’s New 52 relaunch, he did away with much of the existing origin story for Black Adam, the most iconic villain to Captain Marvel (the name Shazam used to be known by). Where Billy Batson was a hero for whom his family was his greatest strength, Black Adam was a villain, who proved willing to kill his own nephew to keep the powers of a god all too himself. A failed judgment that turned out to be the end of The Council of Eternity, and the existence of magic to all but a few who resided on Earth.
The exact details are a little fuzzy – whether Black Adam was chosen as Shazam’s champion, or by the entire Council – but the ending was the same. Black Adam sought to claim the power held by The Council of Eternity’s members, and killed each of them to get it. In the end, only The Wizard Shazam was able to rely upon the living lightning to resist Black Adam. He sealed him away, and closed The Rock of Eternity for millennia. The world forgot the age of magic as The Seven Deadly Sin remained imprisoned under The Wizard’s watch… until the inevitable happened. The Sins were released, as was Black Adam.
And despite his previous attempts to find a “worthy” champion, The Wizard has no choice but to begin his interview process. A parade of unworthy heroes that eventually led to Billy Batson, a boy with the potential to do good with the gifts of a god. A boy who would have to stand against Black Adam and either defeat him, or allow Adam to become the sole master of the living lightning.
Will Black Adam’s Movie Be Shazam’s Prequel?
Once again, this is all speculation on our part, and it is entirely possible that director David F. Sandberg and the heads of DC Films have concocted some alternate origin story. One in which Black Adam never existed, and the extinction of The Council of Eternity simply faced over time. It would make for a much less interesting and thematically resonant story, potentially, but it is possible. The good news is that even if Shazam! leaves the question unanswered–even allowing The Wizard to allude to The Council’s doom, without explaining how it happened–the door is left wide open for Black Adam.
As Dwayne Johnson has said from the very beginning, the reason that his version of The Wizard’s former champion deserves his own movie is because he’s not a villain at all. In the star’s mind, Black Adam is an antihero, and the hero of his own story. Though we don’t know how much the Black Adam movie will change comic canon, his story isn’t hard to frame as a just one: he was given powers to take revenge against the monsters who killed his people. Brutal, yes. But not without reason or understanding. And a story that requires only The Wizard and The Council of Eternity to make the film a direct prequel to Shazam!
Will Black Adam rebel against The Council, slay them all, before being defeated and locked away by The Wizard? It would make for an incredible ending to his own, after the fact prequel–but again, it’s not strictly necessary, so long as Shazam! leaves the current state of The Council unexplained. The fans will know what transpired, whether the film states it or not.
It’s only our theory, but it’s safe to assume until stated otherwise. So before we start imagining how Black Adam’s escape from his prison in a Shazam! post credits scene could put the entire thing into motion, we’ll just stick to crossing our fingers.