Why Doctor Fate’s Helmet Disappears In Black Adam & What It Really Means

During the finale of Black Adam, the superhero Doctor Fate dies and leaves behind his helmet, which evaporates into particles and disappears. Kent Nelson (Pierce Brosnan) is a sorcerer and founding member of the Justice Society of America, the team that is tasked with taking down newcomer meta-human Black Adam by Task Force X leader Amanda Waller. Nelson uses his powers to determine that the only way to beat the demon king Sabbac is to sacrifice himself, leaving his helmet behind for Hawkman’s use before it disappears, ending Black Adam on a bittersweet note.

The meaning behind Doctor Fate’s helmet’s disappearance is a little vague, but by looking at the comics and the little bits of info that are given in Black Adam, the rules of the magical helmet can be determined. Early in the film, Justice Society members Atom Smasher and Cyclone are discussing Fate’s helmet, with it being mentioned that the helmet chooses who is able to touch it. This is proven when Hawkman uses the helmet after Fate’s death, as the helmet allows the hero to use his powers, with it only disappearing later. Unlike other magical items like Mjolnir, which measures users on worthiness, the criteria for the use of Doctor Fate’s helmet isn’t clearly laid out in Black Adam. This leaves a lot of questions open, including why Hawkman was able to use it, where the helmet went, and who will be the next Doctor Fate.

In the comics, Doctor Fate’s helmet isn’t just a helmet – it is actually sentient. Doctor Fate’s helmet is actually inhabited by a cosmic entity named Nabu, the Lord of Order who gives Doctor Fate his powers. Kent Nelson’s Doctor Fate origins involve him being chosen as a champion by Nabu, with the god training him in order to become a master sorcerer. Rather than the helmet being a magical object that has set criteria that its user has to meet, the identity of the helmet’s user is actually up to the whims of Nabu, with the god picking whoever can best carry out his will. Nabu isn’t confirmed to exist in Black Adam, but considering that the movie doesn’t delve into Doctor Fate’s origins, it can be assumed that the helmet works the same way in the DCEU as it does in the comics.

Based on the helmet’s comic lore, the most likely explanation for its disappearance is that there simply wasn’t a new user Nabu wanted in Kahndaq after Doctor Fate’s death. Nabu presumably teleported the helmet somewhere more useful, whether it be a place it could be kept safe or the location of Kent Nelson’s successor. Nabu was ok with Hawkman using the helmet for a brief period of time, but the helmet’s disappearance means that Hawkman isn’t destined to be the next Doctor Fate – someone else is.

While Doctor Fate was only introduced to the DCEU in Black Adam, there are a ton of options as to who the new Doctor Fate could be. Tons of characters have taken up the Doctor Fate mantle in DC Comics, including Eric and Linda Strauss, Jared Stevens, Khalid Nassour, and more. While none of these characters exist in the DCEU yet, they could easily be introduced, becoming a more permanent version of Black Adam’s Doctor Fate whenever the helmet finds them.