The DCEU will be introducing the Justice Society of America in Black Adam and Pierce Brosnan will portray one of the most iconic members: Doctor Fate. One of the DC films that have been in development the longest is Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam film that takes the beloved Shazam villain in a new direction. While he’s normally the ultimate opponent of Shazam, Johnson’s character will be depicted as an anti-hero and tell his origin story. This will be the first time Black Adam has ever been depicted in live-action and Johnson’s character will certainly be a huge addition to the DCEU.
But Black Adam isn’t just bringing him to life, as fans will also see the cinematic debut of the Justice Society of America, the golden age of superheroes before the Justice League. The team has been heavily featured on The CW’s Stargirl where Courtney Whitmore is leading the next generation of the JSA with new heroes taking on the mantle. Black Adam, however, will focus on the original version that will feature Hawkman, Atom-Smasher, Cyclone, and Doctor Fate. The film has cast Brosnan in the role of Kent Nelson a.k.a. the original Doctor Fate, as the title has been worn by others in the comics.
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Doctor Fate has been used in a lot of DC properties, mostly in animation, but Kent did make his live-action debut in Smallville season 9 for the JSA two-parter. Brent Stait played the beloved superhero that came out of retirement and aided the new generation of heroes before Icicle killed him. But Black Adam will give him a theatrical treatment and it’s a big deal for the DCEU. Not only is Doctor Fate a huge member of the JSA, but he’s one of the most powerful (and even dangerous) heroes that exist in the DC Universe as well. But for new fans, who exactly is Kent Nelson a.k.a. the first Doctor Fate, and what is his DC history?
Doctor Fate Origin & Story In DC Comics
Like most characters, Doctor Fate has been rebooted several times since his debut in May 1940 where Kent first appeared in More Fun Comics #55. While many characters have been Doctor Fate in the DC Universe, it all started with Kent as the original sorcerer. Kent’s story begins when he was exploring the tomb of Nabu the Wise with his father Sven Nelson. When they open Nabu’s tomb, his spirit gets released, and while Sven dies from a dangerous gas, Kent is spared. Nabu ends up becoming Kent’s mentor to train him in becoming a powerful sorcerer. By gifting him a magical helmet (also known as the Helmet of Fate and/or Helmet of Nabu), Kent became the heroic Doctor Fate who would take on supernatural threats.
But while Nabu guides him on their adventures, the helmet also allows him to use Kent’s body as a host. By becoming Doctor Fate, Kent also became a part of the Lords of Order, a powerful team that consisted of people with tremendous mystical abilities. By training with Nabu, Kent would learn how to master advanced magic, and the more he operated as Doctor Fate, the stronger he grew. While Kent operated as a magical hero, he would eventually go on to become an actual doctor of medicine, since he also wanted to help save more lives not just as a superhero. Kent does also fall in love with Inza, who would not only become his wife down the line, but also another DC character to join the Doctor Fate legacy.
Doctor Fate Powers & Abilities
While Kent is mortal, his training with Nabu has allowed him a wide range of talents as a sorcerer in his own right. But most of his powers also come from the Helmet of Nabu, which is why it’s potentially dangerous if that helmet ends up in the wrong hands. Nabu also gave Kent the Cloak of Destiny and Amulet of Anubis that, combined with the Helmet of Nabu, makes Kent a force to be reckoned with. As Doctor Fate, Kent has powers such as healing, teleportation, flight, telepathy, telekinesis, and various forms of spellcasting. As a sorcerer, Doctor Fate can sense the magic that is either approaching or around him that comes in handy with some of the threats he faces. But Doctor Fate is also so powerful that he can travel between alternative dimensions and Earths in the DC Multiverse.
Kent’s time with Nabu has granted him a level of immortality and invulnerability, similar to other powerful superheroes. As Doctor Fate, he’s one of the DC characters that is able to connect to cosmic forces, knowing what’s coming in the future, and even has the power to time travel. But as the iconic sorcerer, Kent can use his energy to create constructs, force fields, and stop other types of energy that try to attack. Doctor Fate is able to use his magical knowledge to either summon or banish anyone or anything. Someone like Superman, who is vulnerable to magic, would be powerless against Doctor Fate, but if Kent wanted to, he could make Clark Kent immune to magic. There’s more regarding what Doctor Fate is capable of, but like many characters, his history is largely dependent on the person writing his story; above all, he’s one of the most powerful – if not the most powerful – sorcerer in DC Comics.
Doctor Fate’s Justice Society Story In DC Comics
While Doctor Fate has become one of DC Comics’ ultimate superheroes in the modern era, his history with the Justice Society is still a crucial component. Kent was one of the founding members of the golden age team that, in most incarnations, fought in the 1940s. Doctor Fate, along with other heroes like Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Black Canary (Dinah Drake), Spectre, Hawkman, Sandman, and more, formed the team during World War II. The JSA would sometimes serve as the predecessor to the JLA that has modern depictions of Flash, Green Lantern, Black Canary, and others. In some iterations, the JSA was the Earth-2 counterpart to Earth-1’s Justice League when DC had established the two teams living on separate worlds.
One of the important elements that Kent had with the Justice Society was how he began discovering that Nabu’s spirit was possessing his body more and more. That’s what led Kent to make the half helmet that would make him less powerful but still grant him some access to his powers. For a period of time, Kent had actually retired from the JSA and was no longer Doctor Fate after the Helmet of Nabu was lost to the Netherverse, although he did get it back later on. In the modern DC era (or DC Rebirth as commonly called), Doctor Fate is still established as one of the founding members of the Justice Society of America.
Pierce Brosnan’s DCEU Role As Doctor Fate
For the DCEU, Brosnan’s Doctor Fate will make his debut in Black Adam as a member of the JSA that will go up against Johnson’s eponymous character. While this is an origin story for Theo-Adam, the exact time frame is unknown, but assumingly it’s in the pre-DCEU era. When Johnson unveiled a brief teaser trailer at DC FanDome, the character, described from his perspective, said that “there are some who think I need help,” which is how the Justice Society of America comes into play. The confirmed line-up so far has Noah Centineo’s Atom-Smasher, Aldis Hodge’s Hawkman, Quintessa Swindell’s Cyclone, and Brosnan’s Doctor Fate. It remains to be seen if other JSA members will be appearing in the film.
However, despite this impressive line-up, Doctor Fate might be the only one that can truly take on Black Adam properly. While Black Adam will, down the line, have to clash with Shazam, Doctor Fate might be his ultimate equal in this origin story. But given that they cast someone with Brosnan’s caliber, it’s highly unlikely that they’re setting him up for just a one-and-done role in the DCEU. Doctor Fate is one of the many characters to represent the magical realm in the DC Universe, a corner the DCEU has not entirely explored properly. Regardless of what year Black Adam takes place in, Doctor Fate could easily factor into the present DCEU since he can travel in time and space.
Depending on Black Adam‘s success, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see the DCEU develop a Justice Society spinoff film that continues focusing on this line-up and additional members. With Doctor Fate also having ties to other teams in the DC Universe, Kent may serve as a crucial player in Warner Bros.’ Multiverse storytelling. Even though it’s his grand-nephew Khalid Nassour that is part of Justice League Dark, Brosnan’s Doctor Fate could maybe cross into J.J. Abrams’ JLD-universe that is in the works for HBO Max and DC Films. Black Adam will be a big opening chapter for Pierce Brosnan’s character, but that might just only be the beginning of Doctor Fate’s cinematic adventures.
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