When a Man of Steel meets a man of rage, the DC Universe trembles.
In Black Adam, Hollywood star Dwayne Johnson transforms into the titular anti-hero who in DC’s comic books has long been the archenemy of Shazam. Hailing from the fictional country of Kahndaq, Black Adam is fiercely territorial and will stop at nothing to protect his people.
And with Black Adam, the whole DCU is on notice. That’s made clear in a mid-credits scene when a foundational icon of the superhero genre makes a triumphant and surprising return. But what exactly happens in the scene? And more importantly, what does it mean for the future of not just Black Adam but the whole DCU?
Warning: Spoilers for Black Adam ahead!!
We break down the mid-credits scene of Black Adam (if you’ve not already spoiled it for yourself) and what it might mean for the future of the DC “Extended Universe.”
What happens in the credits scene of Black Adam?
In Black Adam, the titular Black Adam ( Dwayne Johnson) works with the Justice Society of America — organized by Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) — to free Kahndaq from the occupation of Intergang, a paramilitary syndicate led by Ishmael (Marwan Kenzari). The film ends with the declaration that Kahndaq is now under Black Adam’s rule — a fact with which Amanda Waller takes serious issue.
In the mid-credits scene of Black Adam, Waller calls up Black Adam via satellite drone and introduces herself… and threatens him to relinquish his grip on Kahndaq.
“My name is Amanda Waller. Congratulations, you have my attention,” she says to Black Adam. “This is gonna be your only warning. You don’t want to stay in my prison, that’s fine. Kahndaq is your prison now. You step one foot outside of it, you will not live to regret it.”
Amanda gives Black Adam a direct order. And Black Adam doesn’t like being told what to do or where to go. He declares there is “no one on this planet” that can stop him, and Amanda Waller smirks. She replies: “I can call in a favor and send people who aren’t from this planet.” Black Adam dares her to “send them all.”
Suddenly, from out of the smoke of a ravaged drone, materializes none other than Superman. Portrayed once again by Henry Cavill, he appears before Black Adam. On seeing Superman, Black Adam offers to “talk,” and the scene ends.
What does the Black Adam credits scene mean for the DCEU?
Since the release of 2017’s Justice League, the future of the DC franchise is as unstable as a malfunctioning Mother Box.
While there have been major theatrical releases like Aquaman, Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman 1984, and streaming hits like Peacemaker, there is no clear indication of what’s next for the Justice League and the DCEU. The Flash is set for release in 2023 and could tie up some loose narrative threads. But the distracting and disturbing allegations involving the film’s lead, Ezra Miller, may eclipse the movie’s importance to the franchise.
Between Ezra Miller’s legal issues, DC’s divorce from Justice League director Zack Snyder, and Ray Fisher’s allegations of misconduct and discrimination against Warner Bros. executives, it felt all but certain that the Justice League wouldn’t reunite in a recognizable form.
But the power of Dwayne Johnson is a good match for all the uncertainty. Johnson brought Henry Cavill (professionally represented by Johnson’s producing partner and former spouse, Dany Garcia) back to the DC franchise. A recent report by The Hollywood Reporter details the lengths Johnson and his team went to get Cavill to wear Superman’s cape again, including an alleged dramatic bout with exiting executive Walter Hamada.
The same report by THR also says Warner Bros. is engaged in two Superman projects. One of them seems to be “Man of Steel 2,” with Cavill back in the role. Warner is currently scouting writers and directors for the project.
The other is a stand-alone project (think 2019’s Joker) revolving around a Black Superman. The project, first reported in 2021, was begun by Hamada and now boasts J.J. Abrams as producer and acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates as the screenwriter. It is unclear if the movie will feature a Black Clark Kent or explore the story of Black Supermen from alternate Earths in the DC multiverse, such as Val-Zod.
What does Superman’s return mean for the DCEU?
Currently, DC fans are on the cusp of multiple Superman iterations on their screens (along with the TV series Superman & Lois on The CW and HBO Max). But the credits of Black Adam show only one Superman concerns Dwayne Johnson’s obsidian armored anti-hero.
What seems absolutely certain is that Johnson wants to keep playing Black Adam, and he wants to fight Henry Cavill’s Superman. Whether their showdown happens in Man of Steel 2, Black Adam 2, Justice League 2 — or maybe even Shazam! 3 — is for the gods to decide.
Meanwhile, a Cavill-led Superman project isn’t racing onto screens faster than a speeding bullet. But with Black Adam, the future of Superman — and the DCEU — is at least more assured than it’s been in a long time. But fans shouldn’t be too comfortable. Black Adam isn’t someone who would build or even rebuild a universe without intentions of conquering it.
Black Adam is now playing in theaters.