After Aquaman swims into theaters late next year, the next DC Comics superhero audiences can expect to lead their own adventure is Shazam (or Captain Marvel, if you prefer). Since being introduced in 1940, Shazam has been one of the odder, yet more endearing superheroes in mainstream comic books. Although he has his fair share of fans, he’s not quite as recognizable as DC’s Trinity or even folks like Flash and Green Lantern. However, as Zachary Levi, the man who will bring Shazam to life on the big screen, sees it, it’s the character’s more obscure standing that could make his upcoming movie akin to what Guardians of the Galaxy was for Marvel. Levi said:
James Gunn and the gang killed it. And it brought so much heart and humor. I think it was kind of like this dark horse that took everybody by storm, and I think Shazam kind of has the possibility to do that. Because Shazam, for all intents and purposes, it’s not Supes, it’s not Batman, it’s not Wonder Woman, it’s not what most of the people…if you look at most Justice League montages or Justice League posters, Shazam is not necessarily one of the characters you put on there.
Along with being a dark horse of sorts, traditional Shazam stories, like Guardians of the Galaxy, certainly pack a lot of humor and heart like Zachary Levi mentioned. Granted, as the actor noted after delivering the above quote at San Jose’s Heroes & Villains Fan Fest, Shazam has been a member of the Justice League in the comics, but he’s not someone who necessarily comes to mind immediately when thinking about the team’s lineup. Regardless, as we’ve learned with Marvel movies, just because a comic book character or group is obscure doesn’t mean that they can’t lead a successful movie. The Guardians of the Galaxy beat the odds and went on to become pop culture phenomenons. Who’s to say that Shazam couldn’t follow suit?
Along with Zachary Levi playing Shazam, the movie’s main cast includes Asher Angel as Billy Batson and Grace Fulton in an undisclosed role. Mark Strong is also in talks to play the main antagonist, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. Lights Out director David F. Sandberg is helming the Shazam movie, and production is gearing up to begin early next year. While no specific plot details have been revealed yet, Levi described the movie as being Big with superpowers, which is just what we’d hope for from a story involving an adolescent boy who turns into a mighty adult to battle the forces of evil after saying a magic word. It’s the ultimate wish fulfillment for a lot of kids, which could bode well for the Shazam movie being appealing to younger moviegoers.
Shazam doesn’t have an official release date yet, though David F. Sandberg has said that he believes it will probably be coming out in April 2019.