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Some superheroes are born with their special powers, while others obtain them later in life. Billy Batson falls into the latter category, as he was selected to become Shazam (or Captain Marvel, if you prefer) by The Wizard, who has also been called Shazam in the comics. With the Shazam! movie preparing to begin principal photography, the main cast has almost all been assembled, and now we've learned that This is Us star Ron Cephas Jones is being eyed to play The Wizard.
While a deal hasn't been finalized yet, The Wrap reports that Ron Cephas Jones is currently in talks to join Shazam! as The Wizard, who selects Billy Batson to become his new champion. Jones is primarily known for playing William "Shakespeare" Hill on NBC's This is Us. If he joins Shazam!, it won't be his first time contributing to a superhero project, as he recurred as Bobby Fish in Luke Cage Season 1. Jones' other notable credits include Half Nelson, Across the Universe, Mr. Robot and The Get Down. He is also the second This is Us actor to be lined up for Shazam!, as his costar, Faithe Herman, has been cast as Darla Duldey.
Ron Cephas Jones being eyed to play The Wizard means Shazam!'s version of the character is clearly inspired by his New 52 counterpart, who was a native of the Middle Eastern nation of Kahndaq. In the New 52 continuity, The Wizard (whose original name was Mamaragan) was part of a council of beings who controlled magic from the Rock of Eternity, and one of their first actions was punishing the Trinity of Sin, which consisted of Phantom Stranger, The Question and Pandora. However, Black Adam later killed all the other council members, and The Wizard stayed in hiding for thousands of years. After Black Adam was reawakened in the present day, The Wizard started picking people around the world to see if they were worthy of inheriting his power, with Billy Batson being his final candidate. Although The Wizard didn't initially consider Billy worthy due to his personality and attitude, Billy convinced the ancient being that he wasn't going to find anyone who was a perfectly good person. Agreeing with Billy, The Wizard decided to place his in the boy and pass his abilities to him before dying.
Assuming Shazam! hits the same main beats of the Shazam comics, then it's likely that Ron Cephas Jones' Wizard will appear early into the movie, but then die after turning Billy Batson into Shazam. If that happens though, don't discount The Wizard possibly advising Billy from beyond the grave as a spirit. Along with Jones' potential addition and Faithe Herman, Shazam's main cast also includes Zachary Levi as Shazam, Asher Angel as Billy Batson, Mark Strong as Doctor Sivana, Grace Fulton as Mary Bromfield, Jack Dylan Grazer as Freddy Freeman, Ian Chen as Euegen Choi, Jovan Armand as Pedro Peña and Cooper Andrews as Victor Vasquez.