Exclusive: Dwayne Johnson In Advanced Talks With Marvel

Dwayne Johnson is in advanced talks to play a part in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, our sources tell us.

By Michileen Martin | Published

dwayne johnson marvel

DC Studios may no longer like what The Rock is cookin’, but apparently Kevin Feige is interested. Our trusted and proven sources tell us that Dwayne Johnson is in advanced talks with Marvel Studios to join their cinematic universe. With his plans for Black Adam’s future in the DCU shelved, at least for the time being, The Rock apparently is considering a trip across the street to the competition.

In light of Dwayne Johnson’s reportedly less-than-beloved status at DC Studios these days, the news that he’s considering working with Marvel may not seem surprising at first. In fact, as early as a decade ago — less than a week after the 2013 release of Iron Man 3 — Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige expressed interest in working with The Rock while speaking with Collider.

“I’m a gigantic fan of [Dwayne Johnson], I think he’s an incredible… He’s awesome in Pain & Gain, he was great in G.I. Joe, he’s really kind of an amazing human being… I would love him to be part of the Marvel universe somewhere, someday.”

-Kevin Feige on Dwayne Johnson joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Dwayne Johnson was listening, and responded to the Marvel head honcho not long after, with a very direct message regarding who he wanted to play. He thanked Feige in a tweet and assured him, “I’ll be ready.” He followed that with an image of himself in his WWF outfit next to a picture of Marvel Comics’ Luke Cage.

Two years later, Mike Colter would become the MCU’s Luke Cage in Season 1 of Netflix‘s Jessica Jones, followed by his own series. The question of whether or not those stories and the others of the so-called “Defenderverse” series are MCU canon remains up in the air, particularly since Charlie Cox’s comments have hinted that the upcoming Daredevil: Born Again may very well reboot the continuity. So it isn’t out of the question that Dwayne Johnson could become Marvel’s new Luke Cage.

With the glut of fictional characters available in the source material, there’s certainly someone in there that Dwayne Johnson could play from Marvel Comics if not Luke Cage. However, the Marvel roles at the top of most fans’ wish lists for Johnson have been taken; including Namor (Tenoch Huerta), Hercules (Brett Goldstein), Black Bolt (Anson Mount), and Wonder Man (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II).

If Dwayne Johnson is hoping to play a Marvel leading man, his selections might be pretty limited. Some of the most obvious choices are characters who — like DC’s Black Adam — fall on the unstable anti-hero side of things; e.g. Ares, the Sentry, and Hyperion. Any characters along those lines might be a little too close to Black Adam for comfort.

dwayne johnson marvel
Thanos vs. The Champion in Thanos Quest #1 (Marvel Comics, 1990)

On the other hand, Dwayne Johnson could be amazing at playing a number of Marvel villains. One of the more inspired choices, made by WhatCulture last year, is Tryco Slatterus aka The Champion. Like Benicio del Toro’s The Collector and Jeff Goldblum’s The Grandmaster, in the comics, The Champion is one of the powerful Elders of the Universe. He’s a super strong egomaniac who travels the universe in search of a good fight, including in his first appearance — 1982’s Marvel Two-In-One Annual #7 — when he challenges just about all of Marvel’s super-strong heroes to a fight.

However, it’s not easy to imagine Dwayne Johnson wanting to join Marvel as anything but a leading man. The Rock’s branding strategy of the past 5 or so years hasn’t been particularly mysterious; he either joins existing franchises as a leading man or builds new ones from the ground up. From his point of view, there may be no point in joining the MCU unless he gets his own series of movies.

Time will tell if these advanced talks between Dwayne Johnson and Marvel bear fruit. When we know, we’ll make sure you know.