Warner Bros has a lot of DC movies in development but – somewhat surprisingly – one of the films at the top of the list is Shazam!
The Superman-like hero is little known outside of comic book fan circles, but he's being fast-tracked to the big screen. Here's everything we know about the movie that nearly starred The Rock.
Shazam! release date
As we've already noted, in summer 2017 Warner chose to fast-trackShazam! for release. The only movies officially announced and dated to come out before were Justice League in November 2017 and Aquaman in December 2018.
Eventually, the long rumoured Shazam! release date of April 5, 2019 has been confirmed.
Levi shared the first official image of himself as the character in May 2018, saying, "This! This is what dreams are made of."
A post shared by Zachary Levi (@zacharylevi) on May 21, 2018 at 2:55pm PDT
The second official photo from DC’s @shazammovie is here! ⚡️ @zacharylevi plays SHAZAM!, whose lightning bolt insignia is aglow when it’s touched by his awed friend Freddy Freeman (played by @jackdgrazer). Click the link in our bio for more details! #SHAZAMMovie 📷: Steve Wilkie/© DC Comics
A post shared by Entertainment Weekly (@entertainmentweekly) on Jul 16, 2018 at 1:47pm PDT
Kingsman's Mark Strong will try to overcome the bad memories of Green Lantern by playing the villainous Dr Sivana.
Billy has a bevy of foster siblings on the cast, too. Grace Fulton (Annabelle: Creation) is Mary, Faithe Herman (This is Us) is Darla, Ian Chen (Fresh Off the Boat) is Eugene and Jovan Armand (Hawaii Five-O) is Pedro. IT's Dylan Grazer is playing Batson's best bud Freddy Freeman, sometimes known as the superhero Captain Marvel Jr.
Cooper Andrews (best know as Jerry from The Walking Dead) and Killer Women actress Marta Milans will play Billy's foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez, and This is Us actor Ron Cephas Jones is playing his mystical benefactor, the wizard also confusingly called Shazam.
Riverdale and 13 Reasons Why actor Ross Butler is on board too.
Djimon Hounsou has also notched a very special place in comic book movie history with his casting. He played Kree warrior Korath the Pursuer in Guardians of the Galaxy, a role that he'll be reprising for next year's Captain Marvel.
But having accepted the role of The Wizard in DC's Shazam!, he also gets to meet a character who in 1940 was called… Captain Marvel!
Dwayne Johnson was attached to the project for a very long time. But apparently there came a point where he had to choose whether to play Shazam or his nemesis Black Adam. He chose the latter, and will now reportedly not feature in the movie at all, instead waiting for his own solo movie further down the line (or, perhaps Suicide Squad 2). However, he is serving as executive producer on the movie.
As mentioned, director David F Sandberg has signed on for Shazam!
The Swedish filmmaker is best known for his horror shorts. He has two features under his belt, Lights Out (and adaptation of his short film of the same name) and the well-received Conjuring spin-off Annabelle: Creation.
His horror background makes him a leftfield choice for the traditionally lighthearted comic book property (although DC did give the hero a darker twist in 2012 for its New 52 Shazam reimagining). This might be why he is anticipating some hate for his take on the character.
It will be an interesting experience making a movie where no matter what choices are made there will be some who passionately hate you.
- David F. Sandberg (@ponysmasher) October 24, 2017
Indeed, Sandberg has been firing back at Twitter trolls who have already written the movie off.
We should start off by clarifying that this has nothing to do with the imaginary movie Shazaam, which didn't star comedian Sinbad because it is a shared delusion and prominent example of the Mandela Effect.
No, Shazam is a hero who originated in 1940 as a Superman ripoff called – confusingly – Captain Marvel. After years of legal wrangling over the character, DC Comics added him to their lineup.
But then other legal issues with Marvel Comics meant that they couldn't call his series 'Captain Marvel', so it went by the hero's magic word, 'Shazam!', for years. Marvel had its own character of that name, created in 1967, the latest version of which will star in the MCU Captain Marvel movie in 2019. Eventually DC went all the way and changed its character's name to Shazam to match the title of his comics.
SHAZAM stands for the qualities of the Greek gods (and Solomon, weirdly) that the hero calls upon for his transformation, including "the strength of Hercules" and "the speed of Mercury".
Here's the official synopsis:
"We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson's case, by shouting out one word – SHAZAM! - this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam, courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart - inside a ripped, godlike body - Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them!
"Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he'll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr Thaddeus Sivana."
Shazam's been a member of the Justice League and has his own 'Marvel Family' (including his twin sister Mary Marvel and sidekick Captain Marvel Jr, etc), who were also given powers by the wizard. There's Tawky Tawny too – a humanoid tiger creature who habitually dresses in a suit and tie. His main villains are Sivana, a classic mad scientist type, a psychic caterpillar called Mr Mind, and the wizard's ancient Egyptian former champion, Black Adam.
As noted, the recent incarnation of Shazam has been a lot darker, with Batson portrayed as a bitter orphan shunted from home to home. It's not clear how Sandberg will approach the material, but he does seem to have a sense of humour about it, and has promised his version won't be a massive dick.
He's not a huge dickhead.
- David F. Sandberg (@ponysmasher) December 12, 2017
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