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The DC Cinematic Universe grew a little larger this week with the casting of Zachary Levi as Shazam in the upcoming Shazam! movie. Confirmed to open on April 5, 2019, Shazam! will be the next DC film to go into production, ahead of Suicide Squad 2, Flashpoint, and Joss Whedon's Batgirl. Warner Bros. and DC Films are clearly prioritizing Earth's Mightiest Mortal, but there's still a lot we don't know about this project and what to expect from what could be DC's oddest film.
The character and world of Shazam is markedly different from everything else DC Films has produced by far. Wonder Woman is the most "out there" movie they've attempted so far, but it's not like that character was a small boy transforming into an adult hero because a wizard told him a secret word. As such, we have a lot of questions about how the studio is going to tackle this one, but these are the six major points that we want to address about Shazam!
Was Casting Zachary Levi The Right Call?
Let's start with the news that re-sparked our interest in Shazam!: the casting of Zachary Levi. Perhaps best known for starring on the TV show Chuck, this is a huge step for Levi, who has formally mostly done TV and minor film roles. Admittedly, it's a bit tough to see him as a superhero of this type. Shazam is supposed to be what a child envisions a superhero to be, which is why he's such a square-jawed "aw shucks" type. However, Levi can mostly fix that by bulking up in the gym, and really, the most important thing to nail is the child-like enthusiasm and attitude, which is where a lot of Levi's strength comes from anyway.
Will It Be An Origin Story?
It's pretty customary that a new movie introducing a superhero will be an origin story. Literally almost every major superhero franchise has one (some even more than that) origin story, so is that the route that they'll go with the Shazam! movie? He's not exactly a household name, and he's one of the oddest comic characters out there, so it seems like an origin story will be pretty necessary. However, DC could opt to skip the origin if they wanted to and just throw audiences head first into a world of magic and transforming boys. DC hasn't been building their cinematic universe quite like Marvel has, so they could certainly still choose the uncommon route.
Will Black Adam Be In It?
Long before Zachary Levi came on the scene as the hero, Warner Bros. had already found his arch-nemesis: Black Adam. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been attached to play Black Adam in a DC movie for some time now, and the time may have finally come to put him to work. However, it's a bit up in the air as to how that will be. The original plan was to have Black Adam debut in Shazam!, but now they want to have that happen in Black Adam's own stand-alone movie. If the latter is happening, should we expect a cameo in Shazam! or will he have no presence at all? Black Adam is pretty important to Shazam's story, so it's hard to believe that he won't be in the movie at all.
Who Will Be The Villain?
Shazam was created in a simpler time. It was a time when comics were cheesier, wore their hearts on their sleeves, and lacked any subtlety whatsoever. This was especially true for Shazam (then called Captain Marvel), and it led to him fighting guys named Captain Nazi. While Black Adam is Shazam's best bad guy, if he's out of the picture then someone else will have to step up to the plate. Trouble is a lot of these villains are, well, super lame, so some re-invention would be necessary. Doctor Sivana is a mad scientist and one of Shazam's primary antagonists, and he seems like a likely candidate for First Movie Bad Guy.
What Is the Tone Going To Be?
Shazam is probably one of the hardest comic book characters to nail down. He's a superhero who's actually a pre-teen named Billy Batson who transforms into a superpowered adult whenever he yells "shazam" because a wizard named Shazam gave him powers so that he could protect the Rock of Eternity and it's magic oddities. It's ridiculous (in a good way), but the DCEU hasn't really proven that they can do that kind of ridiculous yet. It was rumored they weren't even allowed to tell jokes in their movies at one point. They could make this a full-on comedy a la Thor: Ragnarok if they wanted or they could focus on the deep family aspect of Shazam and make it a fun family-friendly romp. As long as they don't take it too seriously, there's no wrong choice.
Will Any Members Of The Justice League Show Up?
With Shazam! taking place in a cinematic universe, it's only natural that we wonder if any characters from other DC films could be popping in. The emergence of a character like Shazam, who is on the same level of power as Superman, would certainly attract the attention of the Justice League. On the other hand, the studio might want Shazam! to stand on its own and only reference the other heroes of the DCEU through dialogue. We have to assume that Shazam will be brought into the bigger overarching story of the DC movies eventually, and it could always begin in his first movie.