Black Adam Completely Ignores The Rock’s DCEU Canon Backstory
Warning: This contains SPOILERS for Black Adam!
Black Adam might be where Dwayne Johnson finally made his DC Extended Universe debut, but the movie completely ignores the character’s canon backstory. A former slave of Kahndaq, Teth-Adam is granted incredible powers by the Council of Wizards in the same way that Shazam was. The movie includes some key connections to the 2019 Shazam!, including the return of the Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) in Black Adam’s cast. However, the film also forgot to include Black Adam’s backstory provided in the film, creating a massive DCEU retcon in the process.
A key sequence in Shazam! explains that the Council of Wizards had a Champion long before Billy Batson was found and that Champion is meant to be Black Adam. During this scene, Shazam teased events thousands of years before where this Champion unleashed the demons known as the Seven Deadly Sins upon Kahndaq. The movie connected Black Adam’s origin to the Seven Deadly Sins by having the anti-hero use them to get revenge upon the people who killed his family. It’s a tragic backstory that Shazam provides for The Rock’s DCEU character, but these events are not included in Black Adam.
The whole story of The Rock’s DCEU origin in Shazam means that Black Adam provides some significant changes. Instead of using the Seven Deadly Sins to unleash his wrath upon Kahndaq, Black Adam indicates that he uses his powers alone to exact revenge. The DCEU movie even includes the myth that Kahndaq’s emperor using the Crown of Sabbac led to the city’s destruction. The truth is that Black Adam’s anger resulted in the electrical outburst, but there is still no mention of the Seven Deadly Sins. Black Adam complicates the retcon further by not having the demonic villains as part of the sequence where the Council of Wizards imprisons Black Adam.
The oddity of Black Adam ignoring The Rock’s DCEU backstory is that his solo movie is heavily tied to demon villains. It could have been easy to link the return of the Seven Deadly Sins as part of the original attempt for the demon villain Sabbac to be born. Black Adam even could have revealed the history books and the Wizards got it all wrong with the Seven Deadly Sins being used by Kahndaq’s emperor to fight Teth-Adam. Instead, the DCEU chose not even to attempt to make Shazam!’s backstory for Black Adam work with the story it told.
Retcons are nothing new for cinematic universes, but Black Adam’s Shazam retcon does highlight some of the DCEU’s problems. It serves as a reminder of how often the vision and leadership for the universe have changed and that there is not someone overseeing the maintenance of continuity. Black Adam’s retcon even shows how The Rock pushed against debuting in Shazam and has largely separated his DCEU character from Zachary Levi’s. The oddity is that the movie’s long development should have given Black Adam time to sort out its Shazam! connections. Now it will be left for the DCEU’s future to try and make sense of this retcon.