'Black Adam': Cast, plot, release date for Dwayne Johnson's DC debut

Watch a trailer for Black Adam

Dwayne Johnson is ready to rock in Black Adam, and hoping that lightning strikes twice in this Shazam! spin-off which is coming to UK cinemas on 21 October.

The powers of the Ancient Gods are back in live-action, and while Zachary Levi is poised to lead Shazam! Fury of the Gods, it’s over to Johnson to take the lead in Black Adam.

Even before Warner Bros. was working on Shazam!, there were already plans to bring Black Adam out of the shadows. Instead of tacking him on as the villain of David F. Sandberg's 2019 movie, the studios decided to give the character his own time in the limelight.

Read more: Every upcoming DC movie and TV series

If you’re ready, here’s everything we know about the Black Adam cast, story, release, date, and more.

Black Adam cast

Black Adam (Warner Bros.)
Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam. (Warner Bros.)

Making his superhero movie debut, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is flexing his muscles as the titular Black Adam. This actually isn’t Johnson’s first time playing Black Adam, with a post-credit scene in 2022’s DC League of Super-Pets including a voice cameo to set up his live-action arrival. Johnson also reunites with Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra, who is taking charge of Black Adam.

In terms of a potential love interest, The L Word’s Sarah Shahi plays university professor and freedom fighter Adrianna Tomaz. Given that Tomaz goes on to become the superhero called Isis and marries Black Adam in the comics, we have some idea of where her arc could go.

SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 05: Sarah Shahi attends the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards at Barker Hangar on June 05, 2022 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Rich Polk/Getty Images for MTV)
Sarah Shahi attends the 2022 MTV Movie & TV Awards. (Rich Polk/Getty Images for MTV)

As for a villain, Aladdin’s Marwan Kenzari is Ishmael Gregor/Sabbac, who leads the criminal organisation known as Intergang.

With the DC Extended Universe being largely decimated in the aftermath of the Justice League debacle, it’s unclear where the DCEU stands right now. Still, there’s definitely scope for the franchise to expand thanks to the casting of the Justice Society of America (JSA).

BERLIN, GERMANY - DECEMBER 11: In this screengrab, Marwan Kenzari introduces the European Actress award during the 34th European Film Awards at Arena Treptow on December 11, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.   (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images for EFA)
Marwan Kenzariat the 34th European Film Awards, 2021. (Getty Images for EFA)

The JSA were the first superhero team to ever appear in comic books and in Black Adam members include Leverage’s Aldis Hodge as Carter Hall/Hawkman, the JSA’s leader who also imprisoned Black Adam.

Read more: Black Adam star didn't believe he'd been offered the movie

Speaking to Collider, producer Hiram Garcia promised: “The hierarchy of power in the DC universe really is going to change so Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Atom Smasher and Cyclone will have their hands full no matter how we choose to have them interact with Black Adam.”

Black Adam with Aldis Hodge as Hawkman. (Warner Bros.)
Black Adam with Aldis Hodge as Hawkman. (Warner Bros.)

Other members include To All the Boys’ Noah Centineo’s Al Rothstein/Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell’s Maxine Hunkel/Cyclone, and Pierce Brosnan as Kent Nelson/Doctor Fate.

As well as Brosnan’s casting being a big deal, the trailers have focused on Doctor Fate’s importance. He can turn into a mystical sorcerer when using the Helmet of Fate. As for the rest of the cast, it’s rounded off by Bodhi Sabongui, James Cusati-Moyer, Mohammed Ammer, and Uli Latukefu. Ironically, Latukefu plays a young Johnson in NBC’s Little Rock.

Pierce Brosnan joins Black Adam (Getty/Warner Bros)
Pierce Brosnan will play Doctor Fate in Black Adam. (Getty/Warner Bros)

This all-powerful antihero is on a par with Superman in terms of power, and with questions about Henry Cavill’s potential return to the Worlds of DC, fans are rightly asking whether he’ll cameo in Black Adam.

Shazam! had a post-credits stinger that hinted toward Cavill’s iteration of the character, even though the man himself didn’t appear. Speaking of returning favourites, Viola Davis reprises Suicide Squad role as Amanda Waller in Black Adam.

Black Adam plot

Black Adam (Warner Bros.)
Doctor Fate in Black Adam. (Warner Bros.)

Putting the hero in antihero, Black Adam follows the character as he returns to the mortal realm from a magical prison.

Read more: Black Adam is the 'most raging and violent' action The Rock's done yet

Born as a slave in the nation of Kahndaq, Teth-Adam found fame as the nation’s Champion. Instead of using his powers for good, Teth-Adam took on the moniker of Black Adam and turned to the dark side by releasing a group of demons known as the Seven Deadly Sins, later being imprisoned for it. When released in the modern-day, he tries to return Kahndaq to its former glory.

Black Adam (Warner Bros.)
Dwayne Johnson in Black Adam. (Warner Bros.)

Although Black Adam is put at odds with the 21st Century, we’re expecting flashbacks to Kahndaq’s peak some 5,000 years before the main events of the movie.

We’re also not sure how Black Adam connects to Shazam!, but with that movie already featuring the Seven Deadly Sins, there’s plenty of connective tissue. It’s confirmed that Levi won’t appear in Black Adam, however, a cryptic Instagram post from Fury of the Gods’ Sandberg teased Johnson’s potential appearance in the Shazam! sequel.

US actor Dwayne Johnson (R) accepts his Generation Award from host US actor Zachary Levi onstage during the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on June 15, 2019. - The 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards were filmed on June 15 and air on June 17. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)        (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
Dwayne Johnson (R) accepts his Generation Award from Zachary Levi onstage during the 2019 MTV Movie & TV Awards. (AFP via Getty Images)

Speaking to Variety, Collet-Serra called Black Adam the Dirty Harry of superhero movies and described him as “that tough-guy antihero who has a heart,” adding, “the world is not black and white. The world is in grey areas, so you need these people that are riding that grey area.”

We’re also told there will plenty of Black Adam’s signature charisma, so we’re guessing he’ll be something like the Worlds of DC’s answer to Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Black Adam UK release date

The title treatment for Black Adam (Warner Bros)
The title treatment for Black Adam (Warner Bros)

Black Adam will hit UK cinemas on 21 October, 2022, but it has been in the works in some form since the early ‘00s, with Johnson attached from the early days after repeated fan castings that put him in the role.

The movie was supposed to release in December 2021, but after COVID-19 decimated the industry, the release date was removed from the Warner Bros. slate entirely. Black Adam was shifted to 29 July, then finally to 21 October, 2022.

Black Adam (Warner Bros.)
Black Adam (Warner Bros.)

There are questions about where the franchise goes next, with plans for Johnson to play Black Adam in future outings. All but confirming Black Adam 2, Garcia spoke (via Collider) about spin-offs for standout characters and added, “There's 100% a vision of what we'd like to be doing in a multiple picture aspect when it comes to Black Adam and the JSA."

Failing a box office disaster on a par with Justice League, we’re expecting Johnson and Black Adam to return like a bolt from the blue.

Black Adam will hit UK cinemas on 21 October, 2022. Watch a trailer below.