Aldis Hodge has been cast as Hawkman for DC's upcoming Black Adam movie, with the actor set to strap on the wings opposite Dwayne Johnson's titular antihero in the upcoming project. The name alone is enough to offer up a good précis of the character, but just who and what Hawkman is turns out to be a lot more complicated than it needs to be. So let look back to DC universe for Hawkman's origin.
Hawkman has one of the more complicated back stories in DC Comics canon. The character was first introduced in 1940's Flash Comics No. 1 as Carter Hall, an archeologist who also happened to be the reincarnation of an Ancient Egyptian prince named Khufu.
Khufu was opposed by Hath-Set, a priest of the hawk-god Anubis, so Carter Hall created a costume which had large wings to help him control his flight powers in the air. He took medieval weapons from the museum he worked at to help his fight for justice.
The hero would fly high for 11 years before disappearing after his appearance in All Star Comics No. 57 as a member of the Justice Society of America.
In 1961, DC revived Hawkman with a revised origin: this time, his true identity was Katar Hol, an alien policeman from the planet Thanagar who lived and operated on Earth alongside his wife, Shayera.
When the publisher decided to "simplify" its mythology with 1985's Infinite Earths comic book series, things very quickly became a mess that it would take more than a decade to resolve.
Finally, the 1999 JSA series attempted to streamline the character's mythology with a surprisingly graceful solution: Everything started with Khufu, the Egyptian prince, but this time, instead of his simply reincarnating as Carter Hall, it was established that he'd discovered a crashed ship from Katar Hol's home planet of Thanagar. Khufu was cursed to be reborn eternally and become a hawk-themed hero because of that ship.
In Hawkman Vol. V No. 7, released on December 12, 2018, Ktar Deathbringer appeared for the first time. According to writer Robert Venditti, he is the very first Hawkman, the Hawkman from which all other versions ever created came from. The Prime Earth Hawkman has the contemporary identity of Carter Hall but has reincarnated across time and space for millennia, starting off as the brutal Ktar Deathbringer: Hero or Genocidal Murderer. As punishment for a lifetime of mass slaughter, he was given the option to be judged as a murder in the afterlife or be reborn countless times until he had saved more lives than he took and to stand as a guardian against the Deathbringers' inevitable return. And of course he had chosen the second option.
2018's new Hawkman series expanded that idea further, establishing that the reincarnations weren't linear, nor limited to humanity; Khufu's soul — and that of his wife, Chay-Ara — ping pongs throughout time and space, including incarnations on Krypton and other planets already part of DC's superhero mythology.
No specific Black Adam plot details have been disclosed yet, but judging by the concept art shared at DC FanDome, it looks like Black Adam will cross paths with Hawkman and the rest of the Justice Society in the present day. We'll also look back to ancient times to learn how the man known as Teth-Adam obtained his powers.