The DCEU has arguably been in a state of disarray for several years, ever since 2017's Justice League was released as a critical and financial disaster. But things have been looking up lately as Dwayne Johnson finally makes his franchise debut in Black Adam after years of trying to get the anti-hero flick off the ground.
Johnson's Black Adam will bring with it more connections to the greater DC universe than has been seen for years. Not only will the Justice Society of America make its DCEU debut, but ARGUS' Amanda Waller and Emilia Harcourt will return, possibly along with one exciting and long-awaited Justice League cameo.
For several weeks, rumors have been running wild that, after five years of absence, Henry Cavill's Superman will return in Black Adam's post-credit teaser. The Rock has only helped to fuel those reports as he used phrases like "welcome home," referring to the most "unstoppable force in the universe."
Black Adam has famously shared rivalries with both Shazam and Superman in DC history, and many believe a showdown with the Man of Steel may be on the way. Well, while that may be the case down the road, The Rock himself has cast doubt on Black Adam 2 being the place for that.
Black Adam vs. Superman Fight Receives Disappointing Update
Speaking to ComicBook's Brandon Davis at the Black Adam premiere, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has addressed hopes that his DC anti-hero will fight Henry Cavill's Superman in the sequel - that has yet to be announced.
Johnson cast doubt on the chances that Black Adam vs. Superman will take place in the sequel as he "[doesn't] know if that's the way to go:"
"I don't know. I think the question is, 'Should it be the showdown?' And I don't know if that's the way to go."
Once again alluding to rumors Henry Cavill's Superman will appear in the post-credit scene, Johnson hinted that if fans "really pay attention" to the end, there may be clues that hint toward where it will lead:
"When fans watch Black Adam and they see the end, and they really pay attention, as I know they will, to the words that were said and the nuance of the looks, we'll let that lead us."
The Black Adam star indicated that his Superman confrontation may be further down the road than thought, saying that "[they] can't go right there, right away."
The former wrestler reiterated his past comments regarding his intention to "[build] out the DC universe" and "[listen] to the audience:"
"I wanted it years ago. But now we've got to a great place where we've delivered for the audience. And so when we say 'we're listening to the audience,' they know, I mean it. And when we say, 'we're building out the DC universe,' we meant it. This is what we mean. And when we say 'welcome home,' you know who I'm talking about."
Black Adam Begins the DCEU 2.0
Based on the words of Dwayne Johnson, Black Adam taking on Superman isn't on the cards for the immediate future, but rather is part of a more long term plan. So, provided the rumors come true and Henry Cavill's Superman does appear in Black Adam, why was he placed there?
For several years now, Warner Bros. has had all the pieces to put together a DC Cinematic Universe, but those elements have been kept largely separate. The Justice League, the Suicide Squad, Shazam, and now the Justice Society have all been introduced to occupy the same world but have never come together.
Black Adam marks the first coming-together of the DCEU as with Teth-Adam getting his powers from the same wizard as Shazam, Suicide Squad leader Amanda Waller sending in the Justice Society, and Henry Cavill's Superman potentially showing up to offer some Justice League representation.
Simply put, Black Adam doesn't seem to begin a new era of the DCEU in the sense of a reboot as some thought, but rather that it collects the existing elements. Perhaps, as the DCEU finally establishes a greater direction to move toward, Black Adam taking on the whole Justice League may actually be the ultimate goal.
What's particularly interesting are Johnson's use of "we" when it comes to building out the larger DC universe and listening to the fans' wishes. The Black Adam star may be hinting at taking a more influential role in the larger DCEU going forward, especially as Warner Bros. assembles a team to develop a ten-year franchise plan.
Black Adam hits theaters on Friday, October 21.