Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam: Actor Responds To Backlash Over Race-Bending Casting of Cyclone

By Jennifer McDonough Updated:
Dwayne Johnson Black Adam logo Cyclone

Production on DC's Black Adam , starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is underway! The film stars Johnson as the notable DC antihero and appearing alongside him will be a host of other superheroic characters, such as Hawkman and Atom Smasher.

In the movie, Quintessa Swindell will play Cyclone , the grandchild of Red Tornado. The character can create powerful wind gusts and is known for manipulating sound waves. The hero is a member of the JSA, otherwise known as the Justice Society of America, a team that has been explored in other recent DC properties, such as The CW's Stargirl . The JSA is expected to clash with Black Adam, which will likely result in some interesting, dynamic battle scenes.

Ever since news broke of Swindell's casting, certain individuals have criticized DC for “race-bending” Cyclone, who is white in the comics.


Quintessa Swindell

Recently, Quintessa Swindell interviewed with the Black Girl Nerds podcast about their role as Cyclone in Black Adam. When asked about the backlash from "haters" about their casting, Swindell admitted they didn't really pay attention to it:

“I didn't. It's 2021. Like, I'm tired. I just didn't really have an opinion of it. My focus is to learn as much about the character as I can about the character and do the character justice... There's so many elements of Cyclone that are so fascinating and so different than a lot of other superheroes I've seen."

Swindell was also sure to praise the film's director, Jaume Collet-Serra, as well as Warner Bros for allowing them to really craft a compelling performance:

“And our director for Black Adam has been the most amazing director to work with, as well as a studio, honestly. They've given so much leniency on the character and how the character is represented, and it's really, really beautiful because I try to do as much research as I possibly can.”

They also found a lot of freedom portraying a DC character who might not have the name recognition as a Batman or a Superman:

“It just doesn't seem like, y'know, the freedom to really craft the character is really given, especially if the character has such a large legacy. I think Cyclone being a littler-known character kind of... It's just a lot of room to kind of figure it out and kind of piece things together that weren't necessarily pieced in the comics.”


Quintessa Swindell might find themselves playing a relatively unknown character now, several months before Black Adam is set to be released, but once the film hits theaters, Cyclone's and Swindell's star power is sure to be on the rise. After all, there aren't any superheroes in mainstream media played by non-binary actors currently and representation matters.

It's also very cool to see that Swindell has done their research into the Cyclone and DC lore. Cyclone has never been adapted in live-action before and has never even appeared in any of DC's animated properties or cartoons, leaving Swindell to likely just stick to the comics when doing their prep work.

As mentioned above, production on the Dwayne Johnson-starring Black Adam is well underway, and the film is slated for July 29, 2022.

- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.