Now We Know Why Dwayne Johnson Won’t Appear in Shazam!

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Dwayne Johnson’s agreement to play Black Adam in the DC Extended Universe likely brought smiles to Warner Bros. executives. At present, the DCEU’s future seems murky. The failure of Justice League had many thinking a major reboot of the shared universe was unavoidable. Cynical fans assumed Warner Bros. might drop the DCEU altogether. Reboots don’t automatically mean audiences return to the ticket line.

Executives knew a change was necessary to avoid catastrophe. Decisions to make further films a bit more lighthearted appear evident in trailers for the upcoming Aquaman and Shazam! films. Shazam! comes off as the most comedic of all the DCEU movies, which allows the hero to stand out as someone different. The comedy factor could help the film’s box office. The lack of top star power in the leading roles, however, could cause some troubles. Originally, the anti-hero Black Adam — played by Dwayne Johnson — played a part in the film. Why did Warner Bros. allow Johnson to slip away? And will Shazam! become a setup film for the Black Adam solo project?

A definitive answer to those questions arrived. The creative and production personnel behind the Shazam! movie didn’t want to “cram” the two characters into a single film. As previous failed films proved, jamming too many heroes and villains into one feature causes problems. The characters compete with each other for screen time. Proper character and story development suffer. The project then runs the risk of turning off critics and audience members.

No one wants to turn any fans off. The last thing the studio needs is another disastrous DCEU release. As Suicide Squad and Justice league displayed, re-editing a poorly made film produces a different poorly made film. A better strategy involves creating a great movie from the beginning. In this case, the chance exists to craft two great films.

Shazam! may become a sleeper hit for the DCEU. Black Adam could turn out to be a huge money-making franchise. Everyone must wait for their release dates to see if these upbeat outcomes occur.

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