Last week we heard at long last that Dwayne Johnson would be playing Black Adam in Warner Brothers’ Shazam film. We still don’t know if the movie will tie into the larger Justice League-centric DC Cinematic Universe (my guess is that it will), but an idea just struck me that’s too exciting to ignore.
Let’s assume for a minute that Shazam will tie into Justice League, and therefore factor into the larger “shared” DCCU. Warner Brothers has an opportunity here to use the Shazam film, and the Black Adam character in particular, to set up a future appearance of two of my favorite superheroes: Hawkman and Hawkgirl.
Black Adam was the first person to be given the powers of Shazam, in ancient Egypt. He was eventually corrupted by the power he was given, and became one of the biggest villains in the DC universe.
Black Adam’s origin will likely play a part in Shazam, as Johnson himself teased that the character will be portrayed as an anti-hero. That was one aspect that DC Comics writers Jerry Ordway, David S. Goyer, and Geoff Johns gave the character in the New 52 relaunch, and one that will likely survive the transition from page to screen. You don’t cast someone like Dwayne Johnson to just be a throwaway villain, so my guess is that Black Adam will be a large focus of the film. With that focus, of course, comes an origin story, and with that origin comes ancient Egypt.
What else comes with ancient Egypt? Hawkman and Hawkgirl!
The characters have been given a few big revisions over the years, but the current origin not only involves ancient Egypt, but Black Adam as well. Hawkman and Hawkgirl originated as Prince Khufu and Chay-Ara, who lived during the 19th dynasty of ancient Egypt under the reign of Ramesses II.
A wizard named Nabu prophesied that a spacecraft would fall to Earth. When it did, Khufu, Nabu, and Teth-Adam searched the desert and finally came across the remains of a Thanagarian ship that housed a mysterious substance called Nth Metal. The metal contained the ability to negate gravity, and was crafted into several remarkable devices for Khufu. It even strengthened the souls of Khufu and Chay-Ara, bonding their souls for eternity. A villainous priest named Hath-Set murdered them with a knife made of Nth metal, and cursed their souls to live in the mortal plane. They were then reincarnated over many lifetimes, destined to find true love in each other but tragically die at the hands of Hath-Set for all eternity.
They lived through countless times and eras, and faced off with Black Adam through several of them.
I’ve always felt that a Hawkman movie could easily take a 300-like approach, and tell an epic tale of love while truly standing out amongst other superhero films. One has supposedly been in the works for several years now, but with the climate of the DCCU always changing, it likely won’t happen anytime soon.
You don’t need to get into Hawkman and Hawkgirl’s origins in Shazam, but if Black Adam’s origin will truly be shown on screen, it would be a huge missed opportunity not to at least hint at their story. All we need is an Easter egg or name drop that points toward Thanagar, Nabu, the spacecraft, Nth metal, or even Prince Khufu and Chay-Ara themselves.
With the new DC films expected to air pretty closely to the continuity and character attributes introduced in the New 52, one has to wonder if Black Adam and Hawkman’s interlinked origins are more than just a coincidence. Was this something that Geoff Johns (an executive producer on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice) and David S. Goyer (who co-wrote the Dark Knight trilogy, penned the script for Man of Steel, and wrote the story treatment for Batman V Superman) laid the groundwork for from the beginning?
I sure hope so! I have no doubt that a Hawkman movie could succeed, and even wrote an article back in February about how the character could be the Thor of the DC universe.
What do you think of my theory? Could we see a Hawkman or Hawkgirl Easter egg in Shazam?