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Black Adam's ending and surprise post-credits scene explained

There's a new protector in Kahndaq, and a new force to be reckoned with in the DCU

Black Adam
Image credit: DC Studios

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Black Adam

It was a movie that promised a lot ahead of its release — not the least of which was changing the hierarchy of power in the DC Universe — but did Dwayne Johnson (the man) and Black Adam (the movie) deliver? As the dust settles in Kahndaq, let’s look at what actually happened in the latest DC movie.

Were there any surprise cameos in Black Adam?

Oh boy, were there. Even if the cameo from Henry Cavill as Superman was spoiled ahead of time, the movie also featured Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) and Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) from The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, with at least the latter being an unexpected treat.

Waller, especially, was integral to the movie — it was her doing that the Justice Society went after Teth-Adam in the first place, and she was the entire reason that Superman showed up at the end of the movie. She’s not just the Nick Fury-esque connective tissue to the DC shared cinematic universe… she’s pretty much the mover-and-shaker keeping everything in play, by the looks of it.

Black Adam post-credit scene

Black Adam
Image credit: DC Studios

As mentioned above, the post-credit sequence of Black Adam — technically a mid-credit sequence, but it’s unlikely that anyone waiting around for the remainder of the credits to roll after this scene, let’s be real — centers around the return of Superman to DC’s movies. Having successfully installed himself as the ruler of Kahndaq, Black Adam has a confrontation via hologram with Amanda Waller, who isn’t a fan of what this means for the global political situation.

In response to a boast that there’s no-one on Earth that could take him down, Waller tells Adam, “I can call in a favor and send people who aren’t from this planet” — and, seconds later, Superman floats into frame and tells Adam that the two of them need to talk. Does this mean we can expect to see a Superman vs. Black Adam movie in the near future…? Not necessarily; maybe they really are going to talk out their differences. After all, Black Adam has certainly demonstrated a lot of restraint in the rest of the movie to this point, right…?

Oh, wait. No, he hasn’t.

Did Shazam show up?

Bad news for everyone who wanted to see Black Adam face off against Zachary Levi’s Shazam in this movie — the Big Red Cheese and latest recipient of the Wizard Shazam’s powers was entirely absent from the movie, even though Black Adam’s costume is pretty similar to his, and the two share essentially the same power set. Maybe the upcoming Shazam: Fury of the Gods will explain his absence, but for now, just assume that Billy wasn’t paying attention to the news enough to see what was happening on the other side of the world during the events of this movie.

Where now for Black Adam and Kahndaq?

Black Adam
Image credit: DC Studios

By the end of the movie, Black Adam has taken on the unofficial role of protector of Kahndaq, the Middle Eastern country he was born in, centuries earlier. It’s a good thing, too, as the country would appear to be in need of protection — it’s the only source of the mysterious energy source Eternium on the planet, which makes it a target for all kinds of potential threats, but it’s also just run out a criminal underground that surely will invite others to want to move in and take advantage of their absence. The actions taken by Black Adam and the Justice Society were intended to save the country, but might just have made it more endangered in the long run.

Sounds like the kind of thing that could be explored in a sequel, doesn’t it…?

What actually happened to Doctor Fate?

Black Adam
Image credit: DC Studios

Kent Nelson (Piece Brosnan) might have sacrificed himself to save both the day and the life of Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), but is it really as simple as Doctor Fate being… dead…? That’s very unlikely, especially given that his helmet survived and has already shared its power with Hackman, at least temporarily. In comic book lore, multiple characters have taken on the helmet to become the next Doctor Fate, with the recent The New Golden Age #1 suggesting that, even a millennium from now, there will be a Doctor Fate. So, Kent Nelson is dead… but let’s wait to see what happens to Doctor Fate in the future.

How important is Eternium to the DCU moving forward?

On the face of it Eternium is a macguffin to make Kahnqaq the kind of place that Intergang would move into, as well as a concept to help the country feel more familiar to audiences. (It is, after all, not entirely different from Vibranium in the MCU, which helped define Wakanda even before the first Black Panther movie.) Should filmmakers want to push the topic, however, there’s reason for it to serve some real purpose in upcoming projects — not only is it an energy source unlike any other in the world, but it’s also part of Adrianna’s ancestral necklace, which — for those familiar with DC comic book lore — has a particular importance to Adrianna’s future, should that be a route DC wants to go down.

Black Adam
Image credit: DC Studios

And then there’s the fact that Eternium might be something that the Shazamily could find themselves interested in, given that Eternium is traditionally made up of shards of the Rock of Eternity, which is now a hangout for Shazam and his brothers and sisters…

Just what is Amanda Waller actually up to?

One of the unresolved questions left over from Black Adam is, bluntly: what’s going on with Amanda Waller? On the one hand, she’s certainly acting like her old self, in that she’d meddling in superhuman matters and political situations as if only she has the right to do anything, and everyone not acting in her interests needs to be taken care of; that’s certainly the Amanda Waller that audiences know and love from the Suicide Squad movies to date. (“Love” is, admittedly, doing a lot of work there.)

However… since when can Amanda Waller pick up the phone and get the good guys to do what she wants? Calling in the Justice Society is one thing, as unexpected as it seems at the time — they’re new characters to the DC movies, and maybe there’s a shared past we’re not privy to. But being able to make Superman show up almost instantly? Since when could Amanda do that?

Following up on her appearances in The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, Black Adam cemented the idea that Amanda Waller is the force to be reckoned with in the DC cinematic universe right now, the ultimate puppet master pulling strings no-one else can even see. If only we could work out just what she’s actually doing…

So, is Black Adam a good guy now?

In theory, Black Adam is a story of redemption, as Teth-Adam goes from being a destructive force of vengeance to being the self-proclaimed protector of Kahndaq, and the people living there. In practice, however, it’s clear the lines are a little bit more blurred than such a description would suggest: by the movie’s end, Black Adam is still a pretty unrepentant killer, even if the reasoning behind his fury has shifted from personal revenge to the idea of keeping his homeland secure. The post-credit scene shows that he’s still pretty angry and ready to start needless fights to fulfill his own ego. So… let’s just say that he’s speedily fulfilled his comic book role of “morally ambiguous anti-hero,” and aim for “good guy” by the end of any prospective sequel.

What’s next for the Justice Society?

Black Adam
Image credit: DC Studios

No follow-up project has, as yet, been announced for the Justice Society, but there’s certainly enough material to explore should it happen: What is going to happen to Doctor Fate’s helmet? What is Hawkman’s secret origin, purposefully left untouched in the movie unlike those of his teammates? Was the always-welcome Henry Winkler, who appeared all-too-briefly in a cameo — the Atom Smasher in days of yore, before handing over the identity to today’s hero by that name? And what is the team’s connection to Amanda Waller, anyway?

Only time and new DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran know for sure, and so far, they’re not even telling if they have any plans to tell…

What’s next for Black Adam?

Again, while no plans have been officially announced for a second Black Adam movie, it feels almost impossible that we’ll not see the character again in some form — if nothing else, we have a Superman cliffhanger to address. That Black Adam might end up being an expensive misstep for the studio is likely to delay any plans for a follow-up, but… it’s Dwayne Johnson. If he wants it to happen, we all know that it’s going to happen sooner or later.

If you’re wondering about the crowded superhero cinemascape, why not look at our list of the upcoming superhero movie releases by date for help keeping everything straight?

Graeme McMillan

Graeme McMillan: Popverse Editor Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.


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