WARNING: The following contains some spoilers for Shazam!
He also offered an update on his live-action Black Adam film, which has been in the works for a while now, while also revealing the original plan for that character's debut. Apparently, Black Adam was initially supposed to arrive in Shazam! — but Johnson ultimately felt the character's presence would have put the plot over capacity.
"This project... we had some challenges and we took a risk," said the mega-blockbuster actor. "As we were developing this a few years ago, the challenges and the struggles that we were having and that was gnawing at my gut [was] that we were trying to tell two origin stories in one script... The challenges were, as you guys can imagine, you’re trying to tell two very big origin stories in the world of comic books of this DC Universe — two very important characters — trying to tell both their origin stories in one script. I didn’t think it was working."
Luckily, we won't have to wait long for Black Adam's standalone feature to start shooting.
"Black Adam is an anti-hero or villain who I cannot wait to play. I’ve been developing this and it’s been with me in my DNA for over 10 years now. We should start shooting that in about a year," added Johnson.
Upon realizing that Black Adam and Shazam's origins are so different that they would have felt jarring under the roof of one movie, Johnson put in a call to WB's chairman to flip the script.
"I called up Warner Bros., Toby Emmerich, my good buddy who runs Warner Bros. and I said, ‘Brother, we have to split these stories and make two different movies'... So, we rolled the dice, because you never know with these things and I did feel in my gut that out of respect to both origin stories, [this was the right choice]. Those who know the mythology and the backstories of Shazam! and Black Adam know that they are vastly different backstories," said Johnson.
Created by Otto Binder and C.C. Beck in the mid-1940s, Black Adam was, like Captain Marvel and the Shazam! phenomenon, first owned by Fawcett Comics. Sometimes known as Teth-Adam or Theo Adam, the villain started out like Billy Batson, a pure-intentioned champion of the wizard known as Shazam thousands of years ago. Over time, however, Adam became corrupted by his own abilities, forcing the wizard to send him into exile. He returned to the present day, becoming one of the biggest foils for DC's Captain Marvel.
While many hoped that Black Adam might make some kind of surprise cameo in Shazam!'s post-credits sequence, that particular scene was used to introduce Mister Mind, an evil alien worm with a vast intellect. The classic Shazam villain has teamed up with Dr. Sivana (played by Mark Strong) many times over the years.
Johnson's video was posted from Hawaii, where production on the second Jumanji sequel is currently underway. The actor confirmed over the weekend that the project's shoot in Atlanta (a major Hollywood filming hub these days) had wrapped up. Helmed by Jake Kasdan again, the follow-up to Welcome to the Jungle arrives Dec. 13.
Shazam! magicked its way to the top of the box office this past weekend, raking in over $50 million domestically and almost $160 million around the globe.