Rumors have been circulating for some time that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson will play one of DC Entertainment’s iconic superheroes in an upcoming film. Johnson previously confirmed that he was talking to DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. about an upcoming project, but stopped short of naming the character. As such, various rumors about which character he would play have sprung up, ranging from John Stewart, to Lobo, to Aquaman, to Black Adam.
In an interview with Total Film, while promoting his new film Hercules, Johnson very heavily hinted at which character he will play, doing everything but actually naming him.
“DC and I have been talking for a couple of years now about trying to find whatever the right character is,” Johnson says, “and it’s tricky too, because there’s baggage, and its good baggage, that I have. I am a certain way, and my wiring is my wiring, my DNA is my DNA, and when I step on set and on screen, I’m aware of what I’m able to bring to a character. And so is DC too, so it’s not the easiest thing, do you know what I’m saying?”
Johnson then gets a lot more specific about who he and DC have narrowed it down to.
“There’s a character out there that we’re going to announce very soon, that I’m going to play, and…I’ll just say this, he has the power of Superman, and it’s not Green Lantern, by the way. And believe me, John Stewart, he was a character I wanted to play, but there was already a version of Green Lantern, and so we’ve gone in a different direction. But this character has the power of Superman, he can throw down…just say the word. That’s all I’m going say.”
As most DC Comics fans can probably figure out, Johnson is almost certainly talking about Shazam (formerly known as Captain Marvel). Shazam is one of the few DC Comics character who can stand toe-to-toe with Superman (in fact, DC Comics originally came into possession of the character after suing the original publisher, Fawcett Comics, because he was so similar to Superman). There’s also that last hint, “just say the word.” Billy Batson, Shazam’s alter ego, turns into Shazam by saying the hero’s name, a magical word of power. That’s a trait that’s almost entirely unique to Shazam, leaving little doubt as to who Johnson is talking about.
It’s also an interesting choice to get around some of Johnson’s self-described “baggage.” If they go with Shazam’s traditional origin and powers, they’ll need someone else to play the young Billy Batson, allowing Johnson to do what he does best – intense action and humor – while leaving someone else to carry the character during slower moments.
It’s also interesting to note that Johnson was in line to play Green Lantern John Stewart. Apparently the previous Green Lantern film, which starred Ryan Reynolds as Hal Jordan, dashed those plans, likely thanks to its poor reception and fears that another Green Lantern film would suffer due to its ties to the previous film.
So if Johnson is going to be playing Shazam, it seems now we’re left waiting for confirmation as to whether or not he will be part of the upcoming shared DC Entertainment film universe, and if so, will he debut in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice on May 6, 2016, or in Justice League in 2017.