Superhero movie end credits scenes are usually a film’s best-kept secret. No one dares discuss or spoil the big cameo or plot twist that happens after the film, setting the table for what’s to come. In the case of Black Adam though, that hasn’t quite been the case.
Rumors of a certain character appearing in the film began months ago. And as the film’s release got closer and closer, the likelihood became stronger and stronger. Then, Black Adam himself, Dwayne Johnson, began talking about it in terms that didn’t totally spoil it, but didn’t hide it either. So, the discussion becomes not just what the end credit scene is, it’s what the scene means for the future and how it happened. We’ve got all that covered and more.
During the credits of Black Adam, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) tells the anti-hero that he may remain on Earth but must stay in the city of Kahndaq. Adam disagrees and says there’s no one on the planet who can stop him. Waller says she can talk to someone who is not from the planet—which is when a very familiar red and blue suit drops in from the sky. It’s Superman, played by Henry Cavill, and he tells Black Adam they need to talk.
But, as we said, we knew that was going to happen. Johnson has been talking about Superman fairly openly for a while now. He’s even confirmed in interviews he’d love to fight the character in an upcoming film. And maybe that’ll happen. That’s not the most interesting part of all of this, though.
What’s more interesting is how it happened. According to the Hollywood Reporter, neither Superman nor Cavill were in the plans for Black Adam when the film began production. It wasn’t until much later that the idea was floated and subsequently shut down by then-head of DC Films, Walter Hamada. Hamada “tried hard to move DC beyond the era where one filmmaker, in this case, Zack Snyder, had an inordinate amount of influence and could command an entire slate for years,” according to the trade. But Johnson didn’t take “No” for an answer. He went over Hamada’s head, got the cameo approved, and after what are described as “furious” negotiations, got the deal done in the past few months. (Of note too is that Cavill and Johnson are both represented by the same manager, Dany Garcia. Also, Hamada recently left DC Films.)
Those negotiations are apparently not limited just to this cameo. As reported earlier this week, producers are looking for writers for a new Cavill Superman movie. Will that feature Black Adam? Be standalone? We don’t know.
We also don’t know if Cavill’s Superman will still have ties to the Zack Snyder universe. One hint that that might not be the case comes in the Black Adam scene itself. When Superman appears, there’s a very subtle musical nod to John Williams’ theme from the original 1978 Superman film. It’s not the theme written by Hans Zimmer for 2013's Man of Steel. io9 spoke to Black Adam composer Lorne Balfe about the choice, and while he didn’t lay out exactly how the choice was made, he made it clear the choice was extremely deliberate.
“A lot of thought was put into why that theme got chosen. It wasn’t just a random thought,” the composer told io9. “There’s a relevance to it... Everybody that had to do with [that scene] spent a long time debating which theme should go there... there are reasonings for what can happen.”
Are those reasons meant to distance this new batch of DC films from the Snyderverse? Again, we don’t know. But what we do know is that Black Adam brings Henry Cavill back as Superman, it was not an easy thing to pull off, and Warner Bros.—as well as Dwayne Johnson—plan to take full advantage.
Black Adam is now in theaters.
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