Although Black Adam finally hit theaters in October 2022 after years of delays, its release came only weeks before the entire state of the DCU changed from the ground up. But on top of those changes under new DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran, reports have shared some uncomfortable incidents that happened between The Rock and the former heads at Warner Bros. (WB).
Johnson reportedly went to WB’s top brass in an effort to green light a multi-year plan featuring him and Henry Cavill’s Superman, all while seemingly demanding more in return for his efforts thus far in building the story. This came on top of his solo Black Adam movie underwhelming both critically and at the box office, making it a challenge to move forward with new stories solely focused on his character.
Now, as WB prepares for its slate of DC movies in 2023, Johnson has taken to social media to share a cryptic message about his current situation.
Dwayne Johnson's Next Steps After DCU Failure
On his personal Twitter account, actor Dwayne Johnson shared a 90-second video message hinting at what happened with his relationship with Warner Bros. as his time with the DC Universe ended.
Johnson spoke about the importance of not being afraid to fail, endorsing the idea of "having the guts to fail" that motivational speaker Inky Johnson has publicly encouraged. The Rock explained how this "ties into this whole thing," which seemingly is in reference to recent reports about how Warner Bros. ultimately rejected his plan to lead a new era of DC superheroes with Black Adam close to the forefront:
"A thought I wanted to share with you guys. There’s a good friend of mine named Inky Johnson, you guys should follow him. He’s always got great perspective, grounding perspective. He keeps it raw. He keeps it real. He said something that was really profound that I feel ties into this whole thing: … he talked about having the guts to fail. And the reason why I bring that back around to you guys is having the guts to fail compared to having the desire to be famous, having the desire to succeed."
And while he joked about getting older, he made it clear that he still has "the guts to fail" and that this feeling "allows [him] to take big swings," turning his thoughts toward bigger things in 2023:
"But I have found in life, that the desire to become famous, the desire to succeed will never be as powerful as having the guts to fail. And I love that, because I look back at my own life, and around every corner, and still today– Look, I’m a Tyrannosaurus Rex, I’m 58,000 years old, but I still have that. And that’s my lead foot. I’m just having the guts to fail, around every corner. And that leads my decisions. That allows me to take big swings. Get my ass kicked on some of them. Fail at some of them. But then, also succeed at some of them. So, I will always take guts over desire. Have a great week and let’s get after it. This is our year. 2023. Guts over desire."
The full video can be seen below:
At the end of December, YouTuber Grace Randolph also shared a message to Johnson complimenting him for the note that he sent when he officially left the franchise. Johnson admitted defeat in a way in response to that Tweet, sharing his thanks for the support:
"Thank you Grace. Appreciate you. Gave it a shot. Win some, lose some."
The End of Johnson's Partnership With DC?
Although Johnson hoped that his immense star power would assist in truly changing the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe, Black Adam didn’t land for most. Combine that with the reports hinting at Johnson being difficult to work with and his refusal to be a team player by appearing in non-Black Adam solo movies, and it all makes for an unfortunate end to what could have been a successful partnership for The Rock and DC.
Even considering Johnson's place as one of the top action stars in Hollywood, seeing his work with the DC Universe fall apart is quite discouraging, especially looking at the high hopes for success from everybody involved with Black Adam.
While the truth behind the entire situation will likely never be fully revealed, hearing Johnson deliver this kind of message only increases the intrigue behind this story as Gunn and Safran work to build a new DC Universe.
Whether Johnson ever works with DC again after this experience is a mystery, although this video will certainly keep discussions going about what went wrong with this partnership.
Black Adam is now streaming on HBO Max.