Black Adam greatly expands the scope of the DC Extended Universe, bringing in the Justice Society as well as Dwayne Johnson’s dark demigod. Even characters from The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker show up, proving that James Gunn’s time in the DC Universe is only beginning. And while the majority of the films’ Easter eggs are connected to the history of Adam and the Justice Society, there’s another DC hero who plays a major part in the story. That hero? None other than Billy Batson/Shazam (Asher Angel/Zachary Levi).
The strongest tie that connects Billy and Adam is the source of their powers. Adam gains his powers from a council of wizards who empower him with abilities from the Egyptian pantheon of gods. Whenever Adam speaks the word “Shazam!” he is granted godlike powers including superhuman strength and durability, flight, and the ability to generate lightning. But there’s a twist to how Adam gained his powers. He was not chosen as the champion of Khandaq; rather, that honor went to his son Harut (Jalon Christian). Harut chose to give his power to Adam to save his life, and was killed shortly afterwards.
This led Adam to wreak his unholy vengeance against the king who had oppressed his people and took his son from him. However, his rage ended up nearly leveling Khandaq, and the same wizards who gave him his powers imprisoned him within the ruins of the king’s castle. In the present day, Adam is freed when Adrianna Tomaz (Sarah Shahi) speaks the word “Shazam” – unlocking his prison. And once again, Adam finds himself battling against powerful foes when the Justice Society arrives to ensure his “peaceful surrender”.
By contrast, Billy accidentally stumbles upon the Rock of Eternity in Shazam! – the mystical fortress where the wizards convened – when escaping a pair of bullies. There he meets the last living wizard (Djimon Honsou) who attempts to discover if he’s worthy of becoming a new champion. While discussing the origins of the power, the Wizard says that he and his fellow magicians made a mistake in choosing the champion once – hence his test of worthiness. It’s more than likely he was referring to Adam at the time.
Like Adam, Billy also gains incredible powers when he shouts “Shazam!” Said powers are derived from deities in Greek mythology (except for the biblical king Solomon, whose wisdom Billy gains.) Billy also shares his power with his foster family in order to defeat the madman Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong). Much like Adam’s bond with his son, Billy shares a close connection with his family – both in terms of magical power and the bonds of love.
Johnson also bears a strong connection to Shazam!, having served as an executive producer on the film. He was also attached to star as either Black Adam or Shazam before Black Adam was put into development. However, it looks like that showdown may never happen due to James Gunn taking the reins as co-head of DC Studios. Gunn announced that he was penning a new Superman film, and would be recasting the Man of Steel’s part – effectively cutting Cavill’s return short. And as if that wasn’t enough, Johnson reportedly turned down a cameo in Shazam: Fury of the Gods, leaving his future as Black Adam up in the air. Even if Shazam and Black Adam never meet on screen, the connection the two share still remains.
Black Adam is now available to stream on HBO Max.[via]