Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson brought out the lightning — quite literally — during the middle of Warner Brothers’ Comic-Con panel, emerging from a thick fog of smoke on a rising panel in his full Black Adam garb before lightning bolts lit up on the screen behind him.
“Hall H, you’ve been warned,” Johnson said stoically. “The DC Cinematic Universe will never be the same again.”
It was the type of fanfare fitting for one of the most anticipated panels of Comic-Con 2022, and just the most noteworthy in an hour devoted to Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods, complete with new trailers for each. Anyone hoping for teasers on other projects, however, may be disappointed as Warner capped the panel at those two shows without previewing other projects like Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom or The Flash, whose star Ezra Miller has been mired in controversy. (Henry Cavill, the DCCU’s Superman, was also a no-show despite rumors he’d be in attendance.)
In the new Black Adam trailer, we see Black Adam released from his entombment, before he reduces a guard to a burnt skeleton and makes light work of his accomplices too. We see Pierce Brosnan’s Dr. 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 has been a long journey, it’s been easily over 10 years,” Johnson says. The journey has been an incredible one. To be here today to watch Black Adam levitate and throw down lightning like he was passing out candy is a dream come true.”
Also joining Johnson during the panel were Centineo, Hodge and Shahi alongside director Jaume Collett Serra.
“It’s the biggest honor of my life so far,” Shahi said of playing Cyclone, holding 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 one more time, but also the character Black Adam, he has an unconventional origin story,” he said. “He was a slave 5,000 years ago and in our move he awakens in modern times. It’s unusual. This seemed like a dirty harry kind of character, in which the system is broken and corrupt, sometimes you need someone to bring the system down.”
While Black Adam concluded the panel and brought the most theatrics, Warner kickstarted the panel with Shazam!, bringing out leading man Zachary Levi who introduced the trailer alongside moderator Tiffany Smith.
Shazam goes to therapy (well, a pediatrician who the manchild god humorously asks for help) reconciling where his place is in a universe of superheroes. Elsewhere, the trailer is action-packed revealing a whole team of fellow god superheroes the Shazam actors call the “Shazamily.” It also showcases 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’ve got this really cool look of all the kids getting their superpowers at the end of the first film, we’re figuring out our own identity between the two. There’s all the little family tiffs and things, we’re just trying to figure it out.”
With Mirren, Zegler and Liu, Fury of the Gods features far more star power than the first film, and director David F. Sandberg promises more action as well. “It’s a sequel now, we get more money and we spent it all,” he joked.
Lucy Liu, holding a massive staff from the movie was mum on the details of what to expect for the film but lauded the opportunity to join the superhero world.
“To be a part of the DC universe and this world is the most exciting thing to happen to my career,” Liu said. Being here now, being a woman of color and having this really wonderful career that I’ve had, it was an honor to be a part of something this special. It feels like I’m in a place where I’m home.”
While Mirren couldn’t make the panel, she called in with Zegler through video chat. She’s a delightful badass,” Mirren says of her character Hespera. “Zach, I had a marvelous time kicking the shit out of you. Yay, pussy power,” she said to a roar of laughter from the crowd.