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With Zachary Levi’s Shazam!: Fury of the Gods, Warner Bros. hopes to kick off 2023’s slate after wrapping off 2022 in the DC Universe (DCU) with Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam.

The first of DC’s four theatrical releases this year, Levi’s upcoming sequel will put Billy Batson and his incredibly strong alter ego back in the spotlight for the first time since Shazam! in 2019. The film shares strong connections with Black Adam, its immediate predecessor, as both protagonists have backgrounds and power sets that are very similar.

But exactly how do Billy Batson and Teth-Adam relate to one another? Before Shazam’s second DC Universe solo film, the following information will serve to answer some important concerns concerning the two.

Why Says “Shazam” Black Adam?

Only a few times during the 125-minute duration of 2022’s Black Adam did Dwayne Johnson’s titular antihero utter the word “Shazam!” as, like Billy Batson, he changed into his superhero form.

Hurut, Teth-son, Adam is brought to the same Council of Wizards at the Rock of Eternity where Billy Batson received his powers in the first Shazam! movie when he first develops these abilities. As soon as that occurs, both of them are able to impart their special skills on others, with Billy Batson bestowing his siblings’ capabilities upon his siblings while Hurut bestows his powers upon Teth-Adam.

All of this is related to Djimon Hounsou’s Wizard, who bestows these characters with special abilities and refers to himself by his own name, Shazam, thereby establishing a connection between Teth-Adam and Billy Batson.

Is Black Adam a Shazam, then?

Although Teth-Adam and Billy Batson’s metahumans share the moniker “Shazam,” the word grows into quite distinct meanings when you consider where the two originate.

Black Adam’s powers come from a variety of gods from ancient Egyptian mythology because of his Egyptian ancestry. Hurut is endowed with the fortitude of Shu, the quickness of Heru, the strength of Amon, the wisdom of Zehuti, the power of Aton, and the bravery of Mehen, as seen in the opening sequence of Black Adam, with the names of these gods spelling out “Shazam.”

Yet, Billy Batson’s hero is more closely associated with a collection of figures from Greco-Roman mythology, primarily the Greek pantheon of deities. As a result, the young man has a set of fundamental abilities that spells out “Shazam” differently from Teth-Adam: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the endurance of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the bravery of Achilles, and speed of Mercury.

In ancient mythology, most of these deities resemble one another somewhat. Zehuti and Solomon are exact replicas of one another, and Hercules and Amon share some traits. Even though so many of the origins of Shazam and Black Adam are the same, this shift in the pantheon only causes minor variations in their power sets.

Shazam or Black Adam, who is more powerful?

Given that Shazam and Black Adam both basically possess the same set of abilities, their relative strengths are actually rather similar. They both have varying degrees of super speed, the ability to fly and shoot lightning out of their hands, and, with a few notable exceptions, immunity to most lethal weapons and bullets.

Given that the Wizard picked Shazam to be his champion and that the wizard bestowed his own powers on Billy Batson, one could argue that Shazam is the more powerful of the two. Even while Teth-Adam also gains the same skills from a very identical source, having his talents originate directly from the source would offer him a distinct advantage.

Black Adam frequently has the advantage in terms of strength.

Billy Batson, a young boy who transforms into a superhero, typically has a softer demeanor and tends to do the right thing and save lives rather than use his power to rule over others. Teth-Adam, on the other hand, comes from a darker background, giving him a far less forgiving disposition and allowing him to use his abilities much more freely.

This is demonstrated in the DC Universe, where Dwayne Johnson’s antihero uses raw force to defeat his foes without hesitation, even if it delays the achievement of his objectives.

This ideology is what genuinely distinguishes both people, with their attitudes and moral character serving as the primary determinants of how they behave.

Would Shazam and Black Adam Engage in Combat in a DC Film?

It goes without saying that fans want to see Shazam and Black Adam square off on the big screen, especially given their identical power sets and diametrically opposed personalities. Many people wanted to see Dwayne Johnson square off against the DC Comics character he has been most closely identified with throughout the years because of his star power and his devotion to the role.

Regrettably, this matchup never took place because the previous DCEU period is coming to an end this year, albeit that is by no means the only reason. The fact that Dwayne Johnson had his eyes set only on Henry Cavill’s Superman prevented Shazam and Black Adam from facing up.

Johnson has made it clear throughout the previous 15 years that he will only portray a superhero that is at least as powerful as Superman, if not more so. Johnson later revealed his plans to regularly battle Superman once the film entered production, which ultimately led to him ruining Cavill’s appearance in the mid-credits scene.

It is currently unknown whether or when Black Adam will be featured on the big screen once more due to Johnson taking a leave of absence from the DC Universe and the franchise being redone under James Gunn and Peter Safran. That also casts doubt on the possibility of a Black Adam vs. Shazam confrontation, especially in light of the complete lack of mention of Johnson’s reappearance in Gunn and Safran’s next projects.

Does Shazam: Wrath of the Gods feature Black Adam?

While it’s impossible to say for sure that Black Adam won’t appear in Shazam 2, the likelihood of Dwayne Johnson and Zachary Levi appearing together is close to none, possibly even leaning in that direction.

Johnson reportedly declined a request to take part in Shazam 2 when he was approached about the role, ostensibly preferring to keep the two films’ plots apart.

All indications point to the fact that he had no desire to star in a Shazam movie any time soon and was more interested in the aforementioned Superman fight with Henry Cavill.

Even while Shazam 2 is rumored to feature other DC appearances, including Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, seeing Black Adam in the film would still qualify as an unexpected development given how fiercely Johnson battled against it.

What does the future hold for Black Adam and Shazam?

More Superman and Batman projects have been added to the DC reboot slate, which was recently presented by James Gunn and Peter Safran. Given that Black Adam and Shazam both entered the game late in the first DC Extended Universe, the big issue at this point is whether they will appear in future installments of the plot.

Zachary Levi’s recent dubious tweets, which many saw as endorsing anti-vaxxer attitudes, were one obstacle that might stand in the way of a Shazam comeback. In response, Gunn said he “can’t be changing [his] plans all the time because an actor says something that I don’t agree with:”

Only time will tell what happens to both characters, as the DC Universe’s core foundation is still evolving.

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