Warning: This article contains spoilers for Black Adam.
Even though the movie is only just opening in theaters, Black Adam‘s worst-kept secret has already been widely leaked, so there won’t be many hardcore fans who reach the Dwayne Johnson vehicle’s post-credits scene without knowing who to expect to see make a surprise – but welcome – return to the DCEU. And yet, let’s not overlook the movie’s other mysterious guest that is genuinely surprising, as it confirms a beloved actor is now a part of the DC superhero family.
OK, here goes… The cameo in question occurs when Al Rothstein/Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) gets a call from his uncle before his first big superhero mission with the Justice Society of America. It turns out his uncle is actually Al Pratt, the original Atom, and is played by none other than Happy Days legend Henry Winkler, in an all-too-brief role. So how did The Fonz himself come to land a part in Black Adam?
While speaking to Slash Film, producer Hiram Garcia revealed that the creative team were keen to hark back to the rich history of the JSA by making clear that Atom Smasher was a legacy hero, so they needed a charismatic screen presence to bring Pratt to life, which is where Winkler came in.
” … we wanted to have a little moment where we acknowledged that relative of Atom Smasher that was an original part of the JSA, and has history with Noah. So we wanted to get someone that would get the fans excited, who was charming and fun, and Henry [Winkler] came in and just crushed it. We only had him for a little bit, but he went, he recorded that stuff, it plays so well with Noah, Noah is so engaging, and you just love watching him on screen. We were so happy with the way that scene turned out, and it was just enough to give a nice bit of history and also add the stakes for Smasher.”
While modern audiences most associate the Atom with Ray Palmer (played by Brandon Routh in the Arrowverse), or perhaps his successor, Ryan Choi, Pratt was the very first incarnation of the size-changing superhero in the comics. He was also a founding member of the Golden Age Justice Society, something we can assume is also true of Winkler’s DCEU incarnation.
With more from the JSA a strong likelihood, a further appearance from Al Pratt would definitely get a big “ayyyy” from us.