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Fresh off basking in Annabelle: Creation's successful performance in theaters, director David F. Sandberg is turning to his next project: Shazam. As Aquaman wraps up its principal photography in Australia, Shazam is already in production and preparing to roll cameras early next year. However, the big mystery still surrounding the upcoming DC Extended Universe movie is who will play the World's Mightiest Mortal. So far there's been no official indication about when we'll get a casting announcement, but today brings news that WWE superstar John Cena and Galavant star Joshua Sasse are possibly being eyed to say the magic word in this shared universe.
John Cena and Joshua Sasse are reportedly the two frontrunners to play Billy Batson's adult superhero form in the Shazam movie. The Hashtag Show also reports that there was a third "dark horse contender," but they've dropped out of the running. Just like in the comics, the Shazam movie will be about the young Billy Batson who can turn into a mighty superhero (who was known up until the New 52 as Captain Marvel) gifted with magical powers just by saying the word "Shazam."
In terms of pure physicality and fame, John Cena has the edge. Since joining the WWE in 2002, he's risen to become one of the top professional wrestlers of all time, and it's easy enough to see his version of Shazam going mano a mano with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's Black Adam on the big screen. In the world of acting, Cena has been building a solid resume through appearances in Trainwreck, Sisters, The Wall and Daddy's Home. He's also been cast as one of the leads in the Transformers spinoff Bumblebee.
As for Joshua Sasse, he's best known for playing Galavant in the ABC series of the same name, and he also starred on The CW's No Tomorrow. Sasse isn't nearly as famous as John Cena, but that doesn't necessarily rule him out from being selected to play Shazam. After all, it's not like Chris Hemsworth and Henry Cavill were world famous before being cast as Thor and Superman, respectively.
When the Shazam movie was originally announced, it was expected to have the eponymous protagonist battle Black Adam. However, with Dwayne Johnson now set to lead a Black Adam solo movie, the Kahndaqian anti-hero has been removed from Shazam, though the two characters are still expected to clash in a future movie. There's been no announcement about who Shazam's new villain will be, though my money is on Doctor Sivana, the only other member of Shazam's rogues gallery that reaches Black Adam's level of notoriety.
Shazam is still slated to hit theaters sometime in 2019. While we wait for more news about the superhero blockbuster, be sure to browse through our extensive guide of what other DC movies are in development.