As DC Studios bosses James Gunn and Peter Safran gear up to reveal their plan for the new DCU, Variety has shared new details about Black Adam star Dwayne Johnson's failed bid for control over the DCEU.
Shortly after the Warner Bros. Discovery merger wrapped up back in April, The Rock approached new CEO David Zaslav with a vision for a DC Universe revolving around, you guessed it, Black Adam. Teth-Adam's franchise would have expanded, while we'd have finally gotten a Man of Steel sequel, with the endgame being a Superman vs. Black Adam showdown.
Johnson's ex-brother-in-law Hiram Garcia and producer Beau Flynn were part of this brain trust looking to spearhead a new DC Universe, but the former pro wrestler's actions didn't go down well. Going around former DC Films boss Walter Hamada ruffled a lot of feathers, though that's also how Johnson managed to bring Henry Cavill back as Superman.
New Warner Bros. Pictures co-heads Michael De Luca and Pam Abdy approved that, despite prior plans in 2018 to find a new actor to play the Man of Tomorrow.
Black Adam was later released to negative reviews and a $391 million worldwide box office haul on a budget of over $235 million. This hurt Johnson's already worsening relationship with the studio after he'd pushed for a producing credit on DC League of Super-Pets, only to do "little to promote it." Believe it or not, another issue was The Rock insisting that a tequila bar featuring his brand be part of Black Adam's New York premiere despite the movie being PG-13.
"His demands increased and the returns just weren’t there," one insider tells the trade.
Johnson said the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe would change with Black Adam and seemed to take great delight in taking credit for Cavill's return while fielding questions about possibly taking charge of DC as he promoted the movie. Hollywood isn't WWE, though, and moves that benefited his wrestling career clearly didn't fly in the movie business.
Now, his time as Black Adam has reached its end as Gunn and Safran plot a new future for this shared world that won't include The Rock or Cavill's Man of Tomorrow.