The Rock wanted no parts of Shazam! in “Black Adam”. And Zachary Levi confirms it.
The Rock might have been the chef, but Levi is now the one who’s cookin’.
The more things that surface when it comes to the dying light of the DCEU, the more we come to realise the level of disarray things existed in. And with this latest bit of news, we are not in the least bit surprised.
Much whispers of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnsons efforts to suplex the DC universe into submission and to become its nucleic celestial body are no secret. From efforts to promote is liquor with the premiere of Black Adam (a PG-13 movie) to his constant reference to the “hierarchy of power” changing with his entry into the fray, it has all been apparent Dwayne does not like to share his toys.
Black Adam star Dwayne Johnson essentially vetoed a possible cameo from Shazam star Zachary Levi for the movie. The article which made the claim was then reposted by Zachary Levi with the *salty* caption that certainly confirmed the report – “the truth shall set you free”. Complete with an upside-down smiley face and praise-hands emojis.
It seems Johnson’s plan was to have his Black Adam character and Cavill’s Superman be the centre of the DC universe. Which would have had a better chance than a snowball’s chance in Hades if not for the narrative-poor outing of Black Adam. Or the fact that Black Adam is but an extension of Shazam himself. Or that fans would rather see Shazam versus Superman. Or Shazam against Black Adam. You know, just not on Instagram.
It’s also worth noting that even the director of Shazam said he had ‘no interest’ in a crossover (which we sure is a reactionary lie) but then further goes on to say that the post-credit scenes not teasing a crossover was “money left on the table” for Shazam! Fury of the Gods. And Black Adam‘s post credit scene for that matter.
Nevertheless, Levi’s Shazam is the wrong choice for such a confrontation. Personal opinion, sure. The golden age depiction of Shazam has always been most iconic and best. But the interaction betwixt Black Adam/Seven Bucks efforts and the shunning of Levi’s Shazam! really exemplifies a great failing of Warner Bros. to curtail the posturing and takeover tactics of Dwayne Johnson. When the actor places himself bigger than the character, then failure is sure to ensue. Which is remnants of a Snyder era that valued the superficial over the narrative. It was only a matter of time that the DCEU would have been primed for WB execs to bow at the feet of The Rock’s brand of hyper-celebrity in the hopes this would transfer over to movie sales. Alas, script is still king. Something Black Adam cared little to flesh out.
Ultimately, however, the one who would dare to be god has been usurped by another. And the Rock’s statement on the James Gunn hiring is also telling. His inference to the analogous star football team and coach getting dropped by new management. The “star football team and coach” being Black Adam cast and The Rock. “New management” being DCU Studios’ co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran. Just so there is no confusion. Like Fast And The Furious, The Rock attempted to leverage his celebrity to cut out a piece of a large-encompassing universe forcing a branch off from popular IP. Good for Seven Bucks. Not so good for the IP though, it seems.
So whilst everyone seems to hint at the Movie-zilla tactics of the Rock recently, what does this mean for future endeavours of the actor? Will he stick to projects fully spearheaded by himself or will any other IP project be welcoming to the takeover tactics. After all, DC may have had too many chefs in the kitchen, but when the Rock’s cooking, it turns out fan’s last sliver of hope was on the menu.