Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has long been known as “franchise viagra.” Just add The Rock and (for the most part) audiences are happy to smell what he's cooking…with the exception of Hercules.
He'll be joining the DC universe as Black Adam in Shazam in April of 2019, but according to Johnson's producing partner, Hiram Garcia (via ComicBook.com), that timetable could move forward a bit.
For those who are unfamiliar, Shazam is a wish-fulfillment story about a boy named Billy Batson, who shouts “SHAZAM!” to invoke the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the invulnerability of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. In other words, he transforms into a Superman-like figure.
It's a light-hearted and hopeful comic, and Garcia assures that's just what the film will be, saying, “Our take on that world is first and foremost about bad a** fun. Movies like that can of course be grounded with real stakes but it doesn't mean they can't be a blast.”
There's been some recent shake-ups in both the film slate and DC division at Warner Brothers, as DC Comics chief content officer Geoff Johns joins Jon Berg to head the newly formed DC Films; Ben Affleck is set to direct the solo Batman movie and executive produce Justice League (which is currently in production); Seth Grahame-Smith is no longer attached to direct The Flash movie, and a Harley Quinn movie is in the works. So it's certainly possible that the timeline on Shazam could move forward if schedules allow.
There's been a great deal of discussion about the grim tone that Warner Brothers' DC slate has offered thus far, as well as rumors that Suicide Squad re-shoots were largely to add in humor. However, even if the latter is to some degree so, it will likely be dark humor stemming from Harley's…well, insanity.
Shazam has the potential to be a legitimately light-hearted, action-packed adventure that will leave audiences — families, even — feeling good.
Johnson is currently set to employ his considerable charm as the villain, but there are those pulling for him to take on the role of Shazam. Or hey, why not both? It's possible.