Warning: This post contains major spoilers for Black AdamBlack Adam actor Pierce Brosnan unpacks the anguish he felt while filming Doctor Fate’s death sequence and tied the on-screen work to his real life grief. Brosnan made his comic book film debut with Black Adam, and made DC history as the first actor to play Doctor Fate in a live-action movie. Brosnan’s Doctor Fate is one of several Justice Society of America members that square off with Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson), as Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) also appear in the epic superhero flick.
Doctor Fate first appeared as a DC Comics character in 1940, a highly intelligent, deeply capable sorcerer and mystic armed with the Helmet of Fate, which bestows him with his powers. In the first act of Black Adam, Doctor Fate and the Justice Society of America correspond with the government’s superhero handler, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis), who directs the team to restrain Black Adam and take him into custody. Over the course of the film, Doctor Fate acts as the elder statesman among the heroes; Brosnan’s silver-haired locks, elegant delivery, and stellar costume boosted the character’s appearance of sage authority and honorability, though the actor admitted the Doctor Fate costume was much less glamorous than it appears in the film.
In an interview with USA Today, Brosnan reflects on his character’s honorable death in Black Adam, and shared his perspective as an older actor filming the pivotal, moving scene. Of Doctor Fate’s death, Brosnan says, “There was a deep poignancy.” While filming the scene, he seemed to draw on his own personal experiences. Brosnan explains:
“It resonated with me as a man who has lived 69 years and is on the cusp of his 70th year on the planet, and having seen friends pass before me, while being close to the passing of lives.”
Why Doctor Fate’s Death Was So Impactful
Doctor Fate dies at the hands of Sabbac (Marwan Kenzari), and in his final moments he meets Hawkman’s eyes, symbolically passing the Justice Society of America’s leadership role from one character to the next. As Brosnan states, his performance in the scene is powered in part by his true experiences with loss, which gives the scene an external power not often seen in cinema, never mind in comic book films, where onscreen deaths are commonplace. Doctor Fate’s death leaves the Helmet of Fate unmanned, and marks the turning point where Black Adam’s good nature is revealed. Doctor Fate is avenged by the titular character working in tandem with the Justice Society of America’s remaining members. Even after he’s gone, Doctor Fate’s presence is felt within Black Adam‘s closing scenes.
Though Doctor Fate suffers the film’s most significant death, it may not be the end of Brosnan’s work in the DC Extended Universe. Black Adam director Jaume Collet-Serra has alluded to the idea of turning Doctor Fate into an Obi-Wan Kenobi-like figure, whose death does not mark the end of the character’s arc or final appearance; meanwhile, Black Adam lead Johnson personally promised more Doctor Fate content in the future. Black Adam has enjoyed a solid box office performance while kicking off the start of a new phase for the DCEU, and the production empire will likely continue to run on the film’s success.
Source: USA Today