Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson brought the lightning – literally – during the Warner Brothers Comic-Con panel, emerging from a thick haze of smoke in a rising panel in full Black Adam costume before lightning flashes on the screen behind him .
“H Room, you have been warned,” Johnson said stoically. “The DC Cinematic Universe will never be the same again.”
It was the kind of fanfare that befits one of Comic-Con 2022’s most highly anticipated panels, and just the most notable of an hour devoted to Black Adam and Shazam! the wrath of the gods, complete with new trailers for each. Anyone hoping for teasers on other projects, however, may be disappointed as Warner closed the panel at these two shows without previewing other projects such as Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom the the lightning, whose star Ezra Miller has been mired in controversy. (Henry Cavill, the DCCU’s Superman, was also a no-show despite rumors that he would be present.)
In the news Black Adam trailer, we see Black Adam breaking free from his burial, before turning a guard into a charred skeleton and making light work of his accomplices as well. We see Dr. Pierce Brosnan’s Fate, Sarah Shahi’s Cyclone, Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher and Aldis Hodge’s Hawk-Man, the best look yet at the Justice Society of America.
“It’s been a long journey, easily over 10 years,” says Johnson. The trip was incredible. To be here today to watch Black Adam swing and shoot lightning bolts like he’s losing candy is a dream come true.”
Also joining Johnson during the panel were Centineo, Hodge and Shahi along with director Jaume Collett Serra.
“It’s the biggest honor of my life so far,” said Shahi playing Cyclone, fighting back tears. “This character is so unique and in a way I’m so protective of her.”
As Serra added: “What attracted me the most was working with DJ once again, but also the character Black Adam, he has an unusual origin story,” he said. “He was a slave 5,000 years ago and in our movement he is waking up in modern times. It’s unusual. That seemed like a dirty character, where the system is broken and corrupt, sometimes you need someone to bring down the system.”
While Black Adam completed the panel and brought the most theatrics, Warner started the panel Shazam!, featuring star Zachary Levi who introduced the trailer alongside moderator Tiffany Smith.
Shazam goes to therapy (well, a pediatrician that the homicidal god asks for help humorously) coming to terms with where his place is in a superhero universe. Otherwise, the trailer is action-packed revealing an entire group of superhero companions that the Shazam actors call the “Shazamily.” It also features Helen Mirren, Rachel Zegler and Lucy Liu, the three Daughters of Atlas.
“There’s so much heart, there’s so much humor. Billy Batson, Shazam, loves his family, loves people,” Levi says of the new film and his character. “We have this really cool look of all the kids getting their superpowers at the end of the first movie, discovering our own identity between the two. There’s all the little family issues and stuff, we’re just trying to figure it out.”
With Mirren, Zegler and Liu, Fury of the Gods features a lot more star power than the first film, and director David F. Sandberg promises more action, too. “It’s a sequel now, we’re getting more money and we’ve spent it all,” he joked.
Lucy Liu, holding a huge staff from the film, was mum on the details of what to expect for the film, but praised the opportunity to join the world of superheroes.
“Being a part of the DC Universe and this world is the most exciting thing that has happened in my career,” said Liu. To be here now, to be a woman of color and to have this really great career that I’ve had, it’s been an honor to be a part of something so special. I feel like I’m in a place where I’m at home.”
While Mirren was unable to participate in the panel, she invited Zegler via video chat. She’s a delightful villain,” Mirren says of her character Hespera. “Zach, I had a great time kicking you out. Yeah, pussy power,” she said to a roar of laughter from the crowd.
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