Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam

When Is ‘Black Adam’ Set in the DCEU Timeline?

The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) is gearing up to release Black Adam—the highly anticipated anti-hero origin story starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson—this fall. However, as the October 21, 2022 release date draws closer, some fans may be a bit uncertain about the timeline. While the DCEU is a shared universe between DC’s biggest heroes, the timeline has been known to get messy, especially since there are now two variations of Justice League floating around in it. This has led to some confusion about when and where everything takes place and what’s DCEU canon.

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The timeline in Black Adam will be particularly important because, though it is starting off as a solo film, we are expecting Johnson’s character to figure significantly into the DCEU as a whole. After all, the initial plan was to debut Black Adam in Shazam! This was because in the comics, Black Adam is a major nemesis of Shazam and they are both champions of the wizard Shazam, giving them almost identical powers. However, in fear of making Shazam! too overstuffed with characters and big stars, Warner Bros. chose to give Black Adam a solo film as a Shazam! spin-off. There have been promises that these two famous enemies will still crossover eventually.

Of course, this raises the question of where Black Adam and Shazam! take place in relation to each other. Upon being freed from his imprisonment, is Black Adam aware that there is another champion of Shazam? When Shazam! Fury of the Gods comes out, immediately following Black Adam in December, is Billy Batson (Asher Angel) aware of Black Adam’s return? There’s also the question of what exactly happened to the Justice League. From the film’s trailer, it looks like they were just replaced overnight by the Justice Society of America (JSA), so what’s actually going on in Black Adam?

Black Adam in the DCEU timeline

So far, we know where Black Adam‘s story starts. It starts about 5,000 years before the present-day DCEU timeline. We’ll see Black Adam‘s origin story here and how he gains his powers (before being imprisoned). When he is freed 5,000 years later, he enters the present-day DCEU. Now, from what we can tell, Black Adam does take place after the formation of the Justice League and after Batson’s origin story. However, Black Adam is a very self-contained film.

Speaking with Deadline, director Jaume Collet-Serra stated, “Our movie is an original story. By the time the movie ends, he doesn’t know who Shazam or Superman is.” It’s unclear what Collet-Serra means by this statement, but it is worth noting that he doesn’t say Shazam and Superman don’t exist in Black Adam. He merely said Black Adam doesn’t know about them. After all, he has been imprisoned for 5,000 years, making it understandable he isn’t privy to other heroes.

Meanwhile, Black Adam producer, Hiram Garcia, told Den of Geek regarding Black Adam and Shazam!, “In our mind, they all do exist in the same universe. And I think when everything exists in the same universe, you always have the potential for crossover. It’s just a matter of when we get there.” Based on these rather conflicting statements, the closest explanation we have is that Black Adam takes place in the DCEU after Justice League and Shazam!, but he merely doesn’t learn about the other heroes over the course of his film. As for why the JSA are responding to the threat instead of the Justice League, still remains to be seen.

(featured image: Warner Bros.)


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is an SEO writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, YA literature, celebrity news, and coming-of-age films. She has over two years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.