Rachel Zegler Thought Her Shazam Powers Might Have More Of A WandaVision Flair Until She Started Filming

Some superheroes have very clear-cut moves that signify their powers. If and when you are watching all of the Spider-Man movies, you know the hand gesture he employs to fire his webbing. And the shirt rip brandishing a giant red “S” signifies that Clark Kent is about to turn into Superman. But if you get to play a character that few audience members are familiar with, you get to take a few creative liberties. Which is what happened for West Side Story standout Rachel Zegler when she got cast as Anthea, one of the Daughters of Atlas, in the upcoming DC movie Shazam: Fury of the Gods. The superhero sequel gives Zegler very cool powers. She just didn’t know how her director wanted to display them.

Both Zachary Levi and Asher Angel return to the DC Universe as Billy Batson, the teenager who is granted the powers of the gods, then passes them on to his foster family to create the “Shazamily.” In this new story, the Daughters of Atlas come to Earth furious that the powers that they believe should be theirs are given to children. And Rachel Zegler’s Anthea has this incredible visual power that turns the world into an M.C. Escher print. You get a glimpse of it in the trailer. In the film, it looks like this:

Shazam Fury of the Gods

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

When we had the chance to sit down with the Shazam: Fury of the Gods cast to discuss the new sequel, I asked Zegler at what point in the process she finally got to see what her powers were going to look like on the big screen. Because they are unique, and rely heavily on visual effects that probably weren’t ready until the end of post-production. And she referenced a classic Marvel Studios hero when she was preparing her involvement in the movie, telling CinemaBlend: 

It was a lot of trust (in director David Sandberg), and I was trying to figure out what David wanted when we were shooting. Because I didn’t know if it was going to end up being a very WandaVision type beat where it was going to be as if the world was actually in my hands. And we was like, ‘No, just (hold up your hands).’ And I was like, ‘Oh. Ok. I had been rehearsing in the car rides on the way to set. … So it really was, like, believing what David was saying. He was like, ‘There’s going to be gold spirals on your hands, and then the world is going to shift, and it’s going to move.’

Rachel Zegler might have been overexaggerating her disappointment in the above clip, but it’s true that the actors on set trying to show off their powers can look a little silly, and have it appear underwhelming. Behind-the-scenes videos on DC and Marvel movies often show movie stars standing in front of green screen, making heroic gestures. It all gets filled in later, by visual effects wizards. 

You will be able to see Zegler’s powers in effect for yourself once Shazam: Fury of the Gods blasts into theaters on March 17. It’s one of a number of upcoming 2023 blockbusters that should be on your radar when planning a night out at the multiplex.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.