In October, Warner Bros will release Black Adam into theaters, the long-awaited big screen debut of Dwayne Johnson’s incredibly powerful antihero/villain. In December, they’ll follow that up with Shazam! Fury of the Gods, the fun-looking sequel to 2019’s well-received Shazam!
In DC Comics, these characters are inextricably bound up with one another. Both characters are chosen champions of the wizard Shazam, both have a long publication history in the same comics, and the two are essentially reflections of the other. But all indications are that the two characters won’t meet in either Black Adam or Fury of the Gods.
Fans on r/DC_Cinematic are confused: why is Warner Bros. biffing such an obvious crossover? Replies call the studio “idiotic”, saying that even with some of the most valuable superhero IP on the planet, they can’t create a shared cinematic universe without repeatedly screwing up.
Most agree with that sentiment, with a common thread that Warner Bros. is focused on short-term “cash grabs” rather than investing in long-term projects like the MCU.
But in this particular situation, the lack of a crossover might be laid at Dwayne Johnson’s feet rather than Warner Bros. executives. In June, Johnson said that Black Adam shouldn’t meet Shazam as it wouldn’t do justice to either of their stories:
“We have to separate these two movies. We have to honor Shazam! and that origin story and what that is and what that can be for the fans and then we also have to tell our story, too, as well’. I think in separating them, with the majority of the world not knowing who Black Adam if you weren’t a serious comic book fan, it was important I think to separate them and tell each story respectively.”
While that may be the stated reason, fans also theorize that any Shazam vs. Black Adam story would inevitably see Johnson’s character in a more explicitly villainous role, likely ultimately losing the fight. If the rumors are true that Johnson has a clause in his contract that he can’t lose an on-screen fight, it’d throw a spanner in the works for anyone trying to put together a crossover.
Black Adam hits theaters on Oct. 21, with Shazam! Fury of the Gods following two months later on Dec. 21.