Black Adam star Aldis Hodge says the upcoming DC film will serve as an excellent entry point for new fans who know little about the Justice Society of America. Set to feature Dwayne Johnson in the titular role, Black Adam represents the 11th big-screen entry in the DC Extended Universe, which began with 2013’s Man of Steel. Initially, it was intended for Johnson to debut his character as the main villain in 2019’s Shazam!, though it was later decided that Johnson would headline his own film and his character would be retooled as an anti-hero instead.
However, Johnson’s Black Adam will not be the only super-powered character to appear in the upcoming film. Delving deep into DC comic lore, Black Adam will also introduce audiences to a new live-action interpretation of the superhero team known as the Justice Society of America, or JSA. First created in 1940, the JSA has previously been depicted as either an alternate-Earth incarnation of the Justice League, or even as an early World War II-era precursor to DC’s other famed super team. The JSA has also appeared in various television incarnations in Smallville, Legends of Tomorrow, and Stargirl. In Black Adam, the JSA is set to consist of Hodge’s Hawkman, Noah Centineo’s Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell’s Cyclone, and Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Fate.
According to Hodge, however, It would seem that fans will not necessarily need to be familiar with the JSA’s history to enjoy their presence in Black Adam. Recently Screen Rant caught up with the actor at the Black Adam trailer event and spoke to him about his role. Suggesting that the film will start in “a great place for people who [already] know and love” the characters, he also hints that it will make a solid entry point for viewers less familiar with the existing lore. Check out his comments below:
There is a lot of history to figure out about where to start with this character. Talking to Jaume [the director] about what the direction of the narrative was, it really came down to what we know and love as his fans, but then also where we find him with Black Adam in this space. Where we start is a great place for people who know and love [Hawkman] and what [Black Adam] is. But [it’s also great for people] who are looking to discover, when it comes to the Justice Society, who we are and how we live in this world with Black Adam.
If you’re a fan, you’re going to get what you want, you’re going to get what you need. If you’re not a fan, if you don’t know anything about this, you’re going to get everything you need to know to learn about what this [character] is. And you’re going to become a fan. So for me, they started this character and this team in the exact right spot for making this whole thing just take off.
As both DC and Marvel continue to expand their cinematic universes, they often have to delve ever deeper into the treasure trove of existing characters and find meaningful ways to introduce them to lay audiences. While established comic book fans are often a vocal and highly visible cross-section of the movie-going audience, studios also need to cater to a much broader audience to increase their chances of box office success. The task of balancing these two competing needs, of appealing to established fans and making the property accessible to new audiences, is not always easy for filmmakers, and can sometimes impede the quality of the finished film if not handled correctly.
Hodge, however, seems confident that Black Adam will succeed where so many other films have stumbled. With any luck, Hodge’s confidence will also serve to reassure DC fans concerned about the direction of the DCEU franchise as a whole. Not only has the DC film universe experienced its fair share of critical and commercial setbacks, but more recent upsets have also occurred on the back of the recent Warner Bros. Discovery merger and the cancelation of multiple projects including Batgirl. Johnson and Hodge’s new DC film will have a lot of riding on it when Black Adam finally hits theaters.