Shazam! is the next big DC movie headed our way. With Zachary Levi in the lead role and the lighthearted tone we are seeing for this film, it’s clear that we are looking at an entirely different direction for this DCEU project. But, what exactly are we looking at when it comes to this superhero, which focuses on the tale of a 14-year-old boy Billy Batson as he gains the powers of a superhero hero and transforms into one, portrayed by Levi. Released by Collider and JoBlo, here are some things we know walking into Shazam!
First, you should know that Levi originally passed on the role:
“I knew that The Rock had been cast as BLACK ADAM, and, so my first reaction is, ‘Why the hell are they sending me this right now?’ I emailed them, and I said, ‘Hey, aren’t they looking for a) massive stars, or, at the very least, b) someone who is a massive person?’ Even as a cursory Captain Marvel person, who knew very little, quite honestly, about the character at that point, I knew enough to know that.”
“It was gnarly. It was insane. It was oddly, or ironically, reminiscent of when I was camera testing for Star-Lord in GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. I knew that Chris Pratt had also passed on that role. I wanted it so bad. There was definitely a strange thing of, ‘Wow. When you are not holding on to something so tightly, if it’s not something you’re dying and dying for, but you can have an unbiased, somewhat clear idea of what you are trying to go after and know that you are just being you, you are bringing your essence…’ (Source: JoBlo)
Levi had played Fandral in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok, where his character was killed off. Levi reflected on the upside of this decision:
“So, that was a little bit of a bummer but looking back, if I didn’t die, I might still be under contract with Marvel and I never would have been able to get this job. And I say, ‘Fuck that.’ This is the coolest thing ever. I’m so happy. And, literally to be able to jumpstart my life. I’m healthier and stronger and happier that I’ve ever been in my life. The people I get to work with, on and off screen here, has been tremendous. Also, going back to your question, if you are looking at the titular role of a movie, I don’t think you’re as afraid you are as dispensable. You know what I mean?”
What Does SHAZAM! Stand For?
Shazam is a fun thing to say, but what does it exactly mean? ‘Shazam’ stands for ‘Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury’. Along with Aquaman, you have to admit that the DCEU’s inclusion and focus on ancient mythology is really cool.
While the story of Shazam mainly focuses around Billy Batson, the story will begin in the 1970s with the Sivana family and Thaddeus Sivana, whose childhood will influence his adulthood actions greatly. Played by Mark Strong, the actor, who is no stranger to playing villains, described what drove him to take the role of Dr. Sivana and what drives the character:
“I think because he is a proper-in the New 52 incarnation that Geoff’s [Johns] done-he is a proper supervillain. He gets to fly, he can create electric fields in his hands and fire electricity…So, it’s a good, proper supervillain.” But, does that mean he’s a properly developed one? Strong seems to think so, saying, “What I love about this movie and the way they’ve written it is there is a reason he is how he is. Often villains can be painted in broad strokes. They are evil, and that’s it. But, we get to see him young, we get to see a scene in which he’s bullied not only by his older brother, but by his family and is misunderstood as a young boy.” Strong goes on to explain the symbolic search for a “true” family between both Dr. Sivana and Billy Batson with a few nods to the broader story we can’t quite talk about yet. However, he does elaborate on Dr. Sivana’s frustration over who Shazam! is and why he was chosen.
“He can’t understand. He can’t understand that the Wizard has chosen this boy as his champion. Because there was the opportunity there that he could be the champion of good but was rejected because he was considered not to be worthy. Yet, the wizard’s chosen a boy and he realizes that obviously that boy manifests himself into the man, the Zachary version of Shazam, and to him it’s a source of total incomprehension why this boy should have been chosen over him. But, it just justifies him in his quest to unify the good force and the evil force and be in control of all of it,” says Strong. While we know that BLACK ADAM eventually became another bane for SHAZAM!, what is it about Dr. Sivana that makes him such a strong villain for the first film? “I think you can’t really question the original comic books,” says Strong. “If they felt that he was a worthy nemesis and that there was enough to do with him to enable him to create constant complications for Shazam, maybe that’s why there aren’t other villains in that universe or there aren’t many anyway because he’s really quite a good foil, and they do always say that a hero is only as good as his villain so I’m hoping to make Sivana really iconic.” (Source: JoBlo)
Dr. Sivana will own his own company in the film and be very wealthy. He can also fly and create electrical blasts with his hands.
What To Expect
- The next thing is a little obvious from what we’ve seen in the trailers, but Billy has been bouncing around from foster family to foster family since he has had a hard time adjusting as he’s convinced his biological family is still out there. His foster brother Freddy, who is incredibly into superheroes; is the one who gives him a guideline to superheroes once Billy gets his powers.
- The movie takes place in Philly.
- The film will have a lot of references to BIG (the Tom Hanks movie) but there will also be a toy fight scene between Sivana and Shazam, which is giving me Ant-Man vs Yellowjacket feels from the first Ant-Man movie.
- The Wizard, the Rock of Eternity, and the origin of Dr. Sivana’s eye will all be explained.
- The finale in the movie will take place at a winter carnival, bringing together Shazam and Dr. Sivana, along with other surprises that will have been shown to us throughout the story. Also, the carnival was built from scratch in an outdoor lot!
Based on everything you’ve heard, are you excited for Shazam! which comes out June 5th? Let us know!
A girl with too many fandoms to count.