With Shazam only a few months away from beginning production, casting announcements connected to the movie starring the hero formerly known as Captain Marvel have been rolling in. Zachary Levi will play the World's Mightiest Mortal, Asher Angel will play the young Billy Batson, Grace Fulton has been cast in an undisclosed role and Mark Strong is being eyed to play the lead antagonist, Dr. Sivana. Now we can added another name to this lineup, as IT actor Jack Dylan Grazer has been brought in to play one of Billy's key allies, Freddy Freeman.
Introduced in 1941's Whiz Comics #25, Freddy Freeman has been a longtime member of the Marvel family, and now we know that he'll be just as tight with Shazam on the big screen. Deadline reports that Jack Dylan Grazer's Freddy is Billy Batson's best friend and "the only person who knows the truth about Shazam." Admittedly, the report didn't include Freddy's last name, but given how important Freddy Freeman has been in the Shazam comics over the decades, one can reasonably surmise that this is the same individual. Grazer starred in IT as Eddie Kasbrak earlier this year, and Shazam will ideally help boost his profile further.
Besides being one of Billy Batson's closest friends, Freddy Freeman is also one of the other benevolent recipients of the Shazam power. When Freddy was originally introduced, Shazam saved from being killed by Captain Nazi. However, Freddy's injuries were more severe than expected, so after consulting The Wizard, Billy lent some of his power to Freddy to keep him alive. And from there, whenever Freddy said, "Captain Marvel!", he would turn into Captain Marvel Jr., who has all the same abilities as the Big Red Cheese, just like Mary Marvel.
Over the years, Freddy subsequently went on many superhero adventures, both solo and with the Marvel Family, though when he reverts to human form, he is permanently crippled and must walk with a crutch. In the New 52 reboot, Freddy was part of the adoptive family that Billy joined, and when Shazam shared his power with his new siblings during his battle with Black Adam, Freddy turned into a Captain Marvel Jr.-analogous hero. Outside of the comics, Freddy's most notable appearance has been in a Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode.
No specific plot details for Shazam have been revealed yet other than that it will likely be an origin story and depict his conflict with Dr. Sivana. Because we're seeing Billy Batson's first superhero adventure, it seems unlikely that we'll see Freddy receive Shazam-like powers, as we wouldn't want the focus diverted from our titular character. Then again, depending on how much the New 52 influences this movie, perhaps Freddy will be temporarily empowered with Billy's other friends during the climactic conflict.
Shazam doesn't have a specific release date yet, although director David F. Sandberg has said that the movie could be ready by April 2019. Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on its progress, and look through our DC movies guide to lear what other DCEU projects are coming down the pipeline.