Dwayne Johnson took a moment on the Oscars red carpet to reflect on the DC Universe overhaul that put a pin in his plans for a Black Adam-Superman crossover movie. Variety‘s senior culture and events editor Marc Malkin caught up with Johnson and asked about Cavill’s Superman being dropped from the DC Universe despite his highly-touted comeback in Johnson’s “Black Adam.”
“All that I can do, and all that we could do when we were making ‘Black Adam,’ was to put our best foot forward and surround ourselves with the best people and deliver the best movie we could,” Johnson said. “Our audience score was in the 90s. Critics took a couple shots, but that’s just the business of it.”
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“It’s almost like when you have a pro football team and your quarterback wins championships and your head coach wins championships and then a new owner comes in and says, ‘Not my coach, not my quarterback. I’m going to go with somebody new.’”
Johnson is of course referring to new DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran, who were announced as the new architects of the DC Universe just a few days after “Black Adam” opened in theaters last October. In bringing back Cavill’s Superman for a post-credits scene appearance, Johnson was laying the groundwork for his own DC Universe in which the relationship between Black Adam and Superman would be mapped out across multiple films. “Black Adam’s” tepid box office (it didn’t even make it to the $400 million mark worldwide) and Gunn and Safran’s hiring effectively killed Johnson’s plan.
“James Gunn and I connected, and Black Adam will not be in their first chapter of storytelling,” Johnson told fans last December. “However, DC and Seven Bucks have agreed to continue exploring the most valuable ways Black Adam can be utilized in future DC multiverse chapters.”
Johnson added, “After 15 years of relentless hard work to finally make ‘Black Adam,’ I’m very proud of the film we delivered for fans worldwide. I will always look back on the fan reaction to ‘Black Adam’ with tremendous gratitude, humility and love.”
After “Black Adam’s” opening weekend, Henry Cavill publicly announced his return as Superman on social media. Two months later, Gunn announced that Cavill would actually not be Superman in the new DC Universe as he was writing a new Man of Steel movie centered on a younger iteration of the superhero. That film, “Superman: Legacy,” is scheduled for a 2025 release date. Gunn and Safran are also developing “Supergirl: World of Tomorrow” and a Batman and Robin movie, “The Brave and the Bold,” as part of the new DC Universe.
Before “Black Adam” opened in theaters, Johnson and his producing partner Hiram Garcia gave multiple interviews to the press in which they touted Johnson’s Black Adam and Cavill’s Superman facing off on the big screen.
“We really want to craft a long-form of storytelling and show that these two characters exist in the same universe and are going to have to deal with each other often, either on the same or opposite sides,” Garcia told CinemaBlend. “Hopefully they’re going to clash at some point, but it’s not just about a ‘one fight’ situation. That was never our dream. That does not reward the fans. Fans want to feel a journey between these guys knowing that these guys exist in the same universe.”
Watch Johnson’s full Oscars red carpet interview in the video below.
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