‘Black Adam’ post-credits scene hints at a new superhero rivalry

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This article contains spoilers for “Black Adam.”

The rumors are no longer rumors. Superman is back. And he’s on a collision course with Black Adam.

Henry Cavill has returned to the DC movie universe with a cameo appearance as Superman in the post-credits scene of “Black Adam,” alongside Dwayne Johnson’s titular hero and Viola Davis’s Amanda Waller (a character she has played in multiple “Suicide Squad” films and HBO Max’s “Peacemaker”).

Since “Black Adam’s” world premiere in Mexico, social media had been buzzing with rumors that Cavill was back as Superman, something Johnson has been vocal in his desire to make happen. It doesn’t take too much digital sleuthing on Twitter to find the scene online.

In the film, Waller and the Justice Society of America (Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Atom Smasher and Cyclone) unsuccessfully try to capture Black Adam after he’s awakened from thousands of years of imprisonment. Instead, the Justice Society and Black Adam are forced to work together to defeat Sabbac, a mortal turned into a god by demons, and they part ways on amicable terms at the film’s end. Even had they not teamed up, no one on Waller’s Justice Society team of heroes is strong enough to defeat Black Adam anyway. He establishes himself as an unstoppable god among mortals.

In the post-credits scene, Waller promises Black Adam via video message that he can peacefully remain in his homeland of Kahndaq, but warns him that if he steps even one foot outside of its borders, she’ll send someone to take him down. Black Adam tells Waller that there is no one on the planet who is strong enough to defeat him. That’s when Waller reminds Black Adam that it’s a good thing she knows people from other planets.

Seconds later, Superman appears, accompanied by a dash of John Williams’s timeless “Superman” score. Superman says to Black Adam they should talk, in what seems to be a gesture of goodwill. The two superheroes have an intense stare-down before the movie fades to black, with the biggest question of all being if, and when, we’ll see these two together again on the big screen. And if that does happen, will it be a team-up of one of DC’s biggest superheroes and darkest anti-heroes, or will it be what many fans want from these two: the ultimate superhero movie fight.

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Cavill’s brief appearance as Superman is a triumphant return to the character. He was never given a proper sequel to his first film, 2013’s “Man of Steel.” Instead, he went straight into a battle against Ben Affleck’s Dark Knight in 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and then teamed up with Batfleck in the much maligned 2017 film “Justice League.” For a time after that, it seemed as if Cavill had said goodbye to the character. But reports are now surfacing that a sequel to “Man of Steel” and his return to DC’s superhero movie universe are top priorities at Warner Bros. in its controversial transitional phase, which is focusing more on film and less on streaming after a merger with Discovery.

After working for over a decade to bring “Black Adam” to the screen, Johnson now has a bevy of options for sequels should the box office and fan response merit them. A heavyweight matchup between Cavill’s Superman and Johnson’s Black Adam might just be too juicy a scenario for Warner Bros. and DC to ignore — and might help DC in its struggle for relevance. Given how rushed the formation of the Justice League was under Zack Snyder, perhaps the best approach would be to give Cavill his time to shine first on film and then bring him back for a matchup in a potential “Black Adam” sequel. Johnson’s Black Adam has also yet to share the screen with Zachary Levi’s Shazam, who is Black Adam’s biggest rival in the comics. A lesser star in the role of Black Adam might have already appeared in the Shazam movie franchise, but there was no way Johnson was going to play second fiddle in anyone’s superhero movie after waiting so long to bring Black Adam to the screen.

A Black Adam/Superman spectacle would likely be preferred over Black Adam/Shazam by fans and perhaps by Warner Bros. as well. But maybe Johnson has it in his heart to make both happen.

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