Warner Bros Panel Recap: 'Shazam,' 'Black Adam' Bring Down the House

Warner Bros and DC Entertainment brought thunder – and lightning – to San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday with an electrifying look at upcoming DC projects “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” and “Black Adam.” Moderator Tiffany Smith opened proceedings with Shazam himself, Zachary Levi, to introduce a new trailer for the hotly anticipated sequel to 2019’s “Shazam!

READ MORE: ‘Black Adam’ Director Jaume Collet-Serra Shoots Down Comic-Con Superman Rumor

Between glimpses of dragons, unicorns, and other godly mayhem, the trailer suggested the film will explore the very human woes of the Shazam family, affectionately nicknamed the “Shazam-ily” by Levi. “Super-family comes with super-problems,” Levi joked, before explaining that the film would find the kids-turned-superheroes growing more comfortable with their adult alter egos while struggling to balance their various responsibilities.

A panel consisting of Levi, Asher Angel (Billy Batson), Jack Dyan Grazer (Freddie Freeman), Lucy Lu (Kalypso), and director David F. Sandberg emphasized the family dynamic at the heart of the film. Angel provided details on Billy Batson’s journey in the film, saying the story will focus on Batson’s coming of age and his struggle to keep his found-family together as he gets closer to ageing out of the foster system.

The stars on stage were briefly usurped by a prerecorded message from Helen Mirren (Hespera) and Rachel Zegler (Atlas), who teased their roles as the villains of the film. “Zach, I had such a lovely time kicking the shit out of you,” Mirren said, before exclaiming “Yay, pussy power!”

Although the cast remained tight-lipped regarding any potential cameos in the film, Levi cheekily hinted at a future showdown with the Man of Steel. “I can neither confirm or deny,” Levi said before giving the audience a knowing smirk.

Before convention attendees could get too relaxed in their seats, Dwayne Johnson emerged from a blinding white light behind the stage in full Black Adam garb to hover over the stage to shower the crowd with smoke and lightning, courtesy of Hall H’s massive wrap-around screens.

A second panel of Johnson, Noah Centineo (Adam Smasher), Aldis Hodge (Hawkeman), Quintessa Swindell (Cyclone), and director Jaume Collet-Serra repeatedly referred to “Black Adam” as something of reset for the beleaguered DC Extended Universe. “Maybe we can usher in a new era of the DC Universe,” Johnson said. He added that the studios’ modus operandi going forward would be to “listen to the fans.”

Collet-Serra said he was drawn to the project by not only his existing relationship with Johnson (who starred in his 2021 Disney film “Jungle Cruise”) but also the moral complexity of the character. He described Black Adam as a Harry Callahan-type character (“Dirty Harry“) who can “break down” a corrupt and unjust system.

Before debuting a brand new trailer for the film – seen below – Hall H was given an exclusive first look at a key sequence from the film: the arrival of Black Adam in the modern world. Black Adam, awoken by explorers who unknowingly recite an ancient incantation carved onto the floor of his tomb, bursts into the scene in a bolt of lightning to gruesomely dispatch the armed guards accompanying the expedition — severing limbs and turning one unfortunate soul to ash and bone.

Johnson, who has been trying to get the project off the ground for upwards of ten years, called the film “a dream come true.” Before wrapping up, Johnson was asked about who would win in a possible Black Adam v Superman fight to which Johnson coyly responded, “it all depends on who’s playing Superman.”

“Black Adam” will hit theatres October 21, followed by “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” December 21.