They may not have released a superhero film in 2014, but Warner Bros. made a big splash this year when they finally announced their DC Comics film slate from 2016 until 2020. However, during all the excitement there was confusion over whether Shazam, a co-production with New Line Cinema, was part of the same universe that Man of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and the other films exist in. Well, as a Christmas Eve gift, DC Comics has finally answered this question once and for all: yes, it is!
While going over the comic book company’s "Moments That Mattered" in 2014, the DC Comics Blog mentioned that every film that was announced in October exists in the same universe. Meaning that when we see the World’s Mightiest Mortal flying across the big screen in 2019, he will be doing so in a world that also includes Superman, Batman and other famous DC superheroes.
Much of the confusion over Shazam’s placement in the DC film lineup was due to comments from people associated to the film. New Line Cinema president Toby Emmerich mentioned that Shazam would have a "tone unto itself," and said that while he may be a DC character, he is not a "Justice League character." In November, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, who will be playing Shazam antagonist Black Adam, wrote "#Independence" in a tweet about how much fun the movie will be. So instead of this meaning that Shazam will exist outside the DCCU, now we know for sure that the film will be more light-hearted than the other projects, which should definitely be the case given the character’s history.
With Shazam’s placement in the DCCU now set in stone, this could mean that Shazam could eventually join the Justice League. Although the team lineup hasn’t been confirmed outside of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, taking into account the other movies coming out and the New 52 being the main source of inspiration for the movie universe, the other members will probably be Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Cyborg. However, Shazam joined the superhero team earlier this year in the comics after the events of Forever Evil, so this the film franchise could follow the same course by having him join in Justice League Part Two or later. If that’s the case, this could lead to great interactions with the other superheroes, especially Superman.
While the superhero-fighting-superhero trope has gotten old in recent years, it would be awesome if we saw Superman and Shazam in a brawl with each other, most famously depicted in 1996’s Kingdom Come miniseries. Shazam (or as he was known pre-New 52, Captain Marvel) has often been unfairly compared to being a Superman ripoff, but that isn’t an accurate description. They may look similar and share powers like flight and super strength, but Shazam’s abilities are rooted in magic, meaning that if Superman’s vulnerability to magic is acknowledged on film, he could give the Man of Steel a run for his money. Of course, like Superman’s feud with Batman in 2016, the fight wouldn’t last long and the two heroes would eventually work together to fight evildoers.
Even with this clarification, it will be awhile until we see the Big Red Cheese's debut on the big screen, as Shazam won’t hit theaters until April 5, 2019.