“It’s important that little Black and Brown kids around the world, I hope they can see themselves and believe this is meant for them…I hope this helps normalize the idea of us being seen in these spaces.” — Aldis Hodge

Black people are representing everywhere, including in the DC Universe.

Black Adam, the latest release from DC Comics’, is out now. The film, about a man who is bestowed powers by the Gods but imprisoned when he uses them for vengeance, stars Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and has a dynamic cast, including Aldis Hodge and Quintessa Swindell.

In an exclusive interview, EBONY caught up with Hodge and Swindell to find out more about the flick — and of course get any insider secrets the actors were willing to spill. Like many comic books, Black Adam addresses very serious subject matters, ranging from the loss of loved ones and grappling with the idea of exacting vengeance to redemption and what it means to be a “good leader”.

Hodge, who portrays Hawkman, the head of the Justice Society, is tasked with leading efforts to stop Black Adam’s antihero antics and help him see the value in becoming a more conventional do-gooder. Let’s just say Black Adam puts up a bit of a fight.

“He’s [Hawkman] an incredible character. And this is, in the biggest way possible, one of the grandest battles we will ever see in the DC Universe, so I think people are really going to love who he is as a hero, as a warrior and as a human being,” said Hodge.

The actor also gets candid about the challenges of working on the film, including learning physical choreography for the big fight scenes, and having to field questions about landing the major role as a Black man. “When they ask me about being in a specific space, they’re asking me to justify myself. They’re asking me to explain why I’m supposed to be there and that’s not the conversation that needs to be had,” he said. “The conversation that needs to be had is why don’t you believe I’m supposed to be here. This is natural.”

The importance of being fully seen—and not just on the big screen—in this film resonates with Swindell, who portrays Cyclone, as well. “Being given the opportunity to play a superhero as a person of color, as a Black femme, as a Black trans person is so special and so monumental for me personally,” she said. “The idea that my identity, my gender expression didn’t stop me from getting an opportunity. You are who you are, and you can be who you are and that won’t stop you from doing the things that you dream of.”

Working on the big-budget film also created a lot of lighter moments for the castmates, including developing a comradery that is palpable on screen, creating lots of memorable moments and of course, the amazing costumes. Acquiring some of the latter is on the top of Hodge’s list. “That’s one of my priorities —trying to figure out how to get the helmet,” he said. “I absolutely need one.”

Check out EBONY’s exclusive interviews with Aldis Hodge and Quintessa Swindell.

Watch the official Black Adam trailer.

Black Adam is in theaters Friday, October 21st.