Black Adam is no longer getting a sequel at DC Studios. In a statement posted on Twitter, lead Dwayne Johnson confirmed that after having spoken to the new company co-CEO James Gunn, it was decided that “Black Adam will not be in the first chapter of [DC Universe’s] storytelling.” That said, the 50-year-old actor and DC will continue exploring the “most valuable ways” to utilise Black Adam in future “multiverse chapters.” Gunn also responded to the tweet, hoping to see what Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions have in store, further down the line for the revamped DC universe.
DC Studios is currently undergoing a massive restructuring, which involves a full “reset”, charting out the next 10 years for the comic book universe. Akin to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav wants its superheroes’ arcs to interconnect and create a coherent storyline that builds to a dramatic conclusion, presumably with plans for a new Justice League movie.
Amid the shake-up, multiple projects were cancelled over the past couple of weeks, starting with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 3, whose script treatment “did not fit in with the new plans.” Even Henry Cavill, who was brought back onto the franchise to play Superman again, was removed as Gunn wanted to focus on the younger days of the Kryptonian superhero — not an origin story.
It’s been more than a little chaotic though. Warner Bros. temporarily brought back Cavill as Superman for the first time since 2017’s Justice League, in a post-credits cameo for Black Adam. Johnson and his production team fought hard to attain the cameo, which he planned to use as a catalyst to build a heavyweight bout between Black Adam and Superman. The actor, who has been on a mission to change the “hierarchy of power in the DC Universe,” even promised the showdown as the end result, all the while introducing new groups such as the Justice Society of America (JSA).
While this sounded promising, Black Adam underperformed on both critical and commercial levels. With a reported production budget of $190 million (about Rs. 1,570 crore) that ballooned to $260 million, “after a costly 20-day round of reshoots” following poor test screenings, the latest DC film only managed to collect $391 million (about Rs. 3,300 crore) globally. In a bizarre move, Johnson took to Twitter to assure his followers that Black Adam was well on track to turn a profit, albeit in a defensive stance, hoping that a follow-up film was greenlit at the studio.
“James and I have known each other for years and have always rooted for each other to succeed,” the new statement from Johnson reads. “It’s no different now, and I will always root for DC (and Marvel) to win and win big.” Meanwhile, Gunn addressed some of the hatred directed towards him and DC Studios’ co-CEO Peter Safran, noting that disrespectful outcry would never affect their decisions to change the game for the DC Universe. The pair were appointed as new leads of the studio in October, and were tasked with overseeing all upcoming DC movies, TV series, and animation projects.
“Our choices for the [DC Universe] are based upon what we believe is best for the story [and] best for the DC characters who have been around for nearly 85 years,” he said in a thread. “Perhaps these choices are great, perhaps not, but they are made with sincere hearts [and] integrity, [and] always with the story in mind.”