'Black Adam' Casts 'The Old Guard' Star Marwan Kenzari As The Villain To Dwayne Johnson's Anti-Hero

Black Adam may have found its villain.

Marwan Kenzari, who recently caught attention as Hot Jafar in the live-action Aladdin remake before appearing in Netflix's The Old Guard, is in talks to join the Black Adam cast as the villain to Dwayne Johnson's titular anti-hero.

The Hollywood Reporter reported that Marwan Kenzari is in final negotiations to join the Black Adam cast opposite Dwayne Johnson. But while THR had no news on who Kenzari would be playing, The Wrap's Umberto Gonzalez confirmed that Kenzari will be playing the villain.

Now, who could be the villain to Black Adam, himself a longtime Big Bad for the superhero Shazam? Well, through DC Comics, Black Adam has been presented as both hero and villain, before finally settling into an anti-hero role, and the upcoming Johnson-starring film will take place long before Black Adam becomes the archnemesis to Zachary Levi's Shazam in a future Shazam sequelBlack Adam will be set in the ancient kingdom of Kahndaq, where Black Adam resides as a champion for the wizard Shazam before his fall from grace and eventual imprisonment. In DC Comics lore, his downfall came at the hands of Ahk-ton, an evil priest working with the immortal Vandal Savage, so that character is a possibility.

But The Illuminerdi, which actually broke the news of Kenzari's casting a few months ago, reported that Kenzari was being eyed for the role of Ishmael Gregor, AKA Sabbac. There are several versions of Sabbac, but the one that The Illuminerdi names is a New York City mob boss who gains superhuman strength and demon-like appearance after initiating a ritual to possess the powers of Sabbac. This version is a foe of the superhero team The Outsiders, but Sabbac is frequently considered a villain, and sometimes associate, of Black Adam.

This isn't the first time Kenzari has played a villain, of course, taking on the role of the evil wizard Jafar in Guy Ritchie's Aladdin. But apart from earning attention for his good looks, I can't say he impressed much in the role. Perhaps he'll be better suited to playing the villain opposite Johnson, whichever character he may play. Though if is playing Sabbac, it will likely be under lots of CGI effects, which is a challenge for any actor.

Plot details for Black Adam are still mostly under wraps, but the film is set to introduce the old DC super-team, the Justice Society, with members like Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) set to appear.

Jaume Collet-Serra directs Black Adam, which is heading toward an April production start in Atlanta. Rory Haines and Sohrab Noshirvani wrote the latest draft of the script from Adam Sztykiel's previous draft. Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia of Seven Bucks Productions are producing with Beau Flynn of FlynnPictureCo.