The Man in Black has finally arrived in the DC Universe. black adam opened last month to much fanfare, as frontman Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and company led a global press tour that included stops in New York, Toronto, London, Madrid and Mexico City. It culminated what Johnson billed as a 14-year journey, as he was initially tied to Teth-Adam in 2008. With over a decade of ideas in the black adam writers room, scribes Adan Sztykiel, Rory Haines, and Sohrab Noshirvani were tasked with confining these concepts to a single script, director Jaume Collet-Serra was tasked with bringing it to life, and editors Mike Sale, ACE, and John Lee been entrusted to reduce the footage to 125 minutes.
Speaking to ComicBook.com’s Liam Crowley, Sale pointed out that balancing Teth-Adam and the Justice Society was his biggest challenge.
“You could have an entire movie for each of these characters. The comic book mythology runs deep for all of these characters,” Sale said. “What it becomes is what to include and what not to include. How much character development can you do in a movie? How much detail about anything can you do It was a challenge to figure out how to make a fun movie, a movie that starts this world, starts these characters, makes people want more, but it’s not just a horribly confusing mess with too many information.”
Lee added that the black adam the production had no shortage of available knowledge, which helped to speed up the introduction process.
“The art department actually dove deep into the whole Black Adam story since 1945 and made a dossier on everything. There was one on Hawkman, one on Cyclone, one on everyone,” Lee added. “It was there for everyone, for the writers and for us. But there comes a point where they shoot what they shoot and we cut that. Some things get left out because, like Mike says, you can’t fit it all in.”
This meant that many scenes ended up on the cutting room floor, including a moment between Atom Smasher and Cyclone.
“Without going into too much detail, there was a scene with Atom Smasher and Cyclone, and it was really there to hint at that storyline in the graphic novels, where Atom Smasher ends up teaming up with Black Adam in an arc. particular story,” Lee revealed. “It didn’t quite fit, but it was a great scene.”
“And we felt like in this movie, we had that rhythm,” Sale added. “Where Smasher talks to Black Adam near the end of the movie.”
One scene that came well into the editing process was the return of Henry Cavill’s Superman in the end credits. Both Sale and Lee were tasked with mounting Kal-El’s confrontation with Teth-Adam, which they didn’t find out until they pressed the play of the mysterious footage.
“It happened very, very late,” Sale said. “We didn’t even know they were shooting it. All of a sudden it appeared one day.”
“I know they shot Henry in London, so we were walking around saying, ‘Hey, what are they shooting in London? And then this sequence pops up and we’re like, ‘Oh, okay,'” Lee added. “The code of silence for everyone. We all agreed. The producers were very involved, and I think we understood that. We tested it and everyone exploded. They went crazy when they saw it.”
Editing this post-credits scene was a loophole moment for Sale in particular, as the Man of Steel has been tied to his film career since the early stages.
“In 1978, I was a kid in Acton, Massachusetts, cleaning up a movie theater. I loved movies, so I worked at the movie theater. One of the movies that was playing there that year there was Superman with Christopher Reeves,” Sale recalled. “I’ve watched this movie many, many times. I love this movie. This movie means something to me. It’s special to me.
“I could tell you that cleaning up some popcorn after a morning of Superman with John Williams’ score while you’re sweeping up the popcorn is pretty fun. The day that footage came up and I was sitting in my bathroom editing and I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’m working on a movie that might have Superman in it.’ I was just sitting there and it was just a moving moment. I was just like, ‘I hope it will happen.'”
Not only did that Superman cameo happen, but it looks like it’s just the beginning for Cavill’s Clark Kent. The British actor recently teased that the black adam the appearance is just a “very small taste of what’s to come”. Beyond that, Cavill’s recent departure from Netflix the witcher also led to speculation that his schedule could fill up with Superman-related projects.
black adam now playing in theaters.