During a recent panel at the San Jose Heroes & Villains Fan Fest, Shazam! star Zachary Levi spoke a bit about his upcoming superhero role. Talking with his characteristic fanboy excitement, Levi touched on comparisons between the DC franchise and Marvel, as well as Shazam’s place in the DC Extended Universe.
Most notably, Levi compared James Gunn’s work on Guardians of the Galaxy to the upcoming Shazam!, saying:
“James Gunn [director of Guardians of the Galaxy] and the gang killed it and it brought so much heart and humor and, yeah, I think [Guardians] 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! is not, for all intents and purposes, it’s not Supes, it’s not Batman, it’s not Wonder Woman, it’s not what most 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. Except he is in the Justice League, so!”
Shazam is the superhero alter ego of thirteen-year-old Billy Batson, who magically transforms into the musclebound adult-bodied hero, but retains his childlike mind. It’s certainly a more lighthearted take than most superhero stories! It sounds like that’s something the Shazam! movie won’t shy away from, giving us a more humorous superhero movie a la James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Levi went on to discuss his excitement for Shazam’s potential future alongside the Justice League in the DCEU:
“When I was camera-testing for this job, I was driving to and from Warner Brothers, it was like two weeks before Justice League came out, and I was driving to Warner Brothers and the posters for Justice League were, like, there’s three of them on the way to Warner Brothers and on the way back and I was going “Am I about to be on one of those posters right now? This is insane!” And I might be!”
Addressing “Shazam! purists”, Levi went on to discuss why Shazam may not always exhibit the “wisdom of Solomon” with which he was imbued in his original comic book incarnation:
“I think that Geoff Johns and really the entire team at DC, what they’re trying to do – and a lot of these reboots and the New 52 and that sort of stuff – they’re trying to create characters that originally weren’t created to be very different. I mean, literally, Shazam and Superman, Shazam was created so closely to Superman that DC sued Fawcett [Comics, Shazam’s original publishers] and they won. Now Shazam gets to be a little bit different than Superman and I think that’s a perk. And I think that, in order to have a team of collaborative superheroes that are all working in conjunction with one another, they need to have differences and strengths and weaknesses and I love that Shazam gets to be that character.”
Are you looking forward to seeing Levi take on the role of Shazam? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Directed by David F. Sandberg from a script written by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemk, Shazam! stars Zachary Levi and Asher Angel with Annabelle: Creation‘s Grace Fulton set to join the cast and Mark Strong in talks play the villain Doctor Sivana. Scheduled to begin filming in February, Shazam! will be a New Line Cinema production that will be produced in conjunction with Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment.
Shazam! is currently scheduled to be released in theaters on April 5, 2019.