Shazam has been around since 1939, which means the new movie has a lot of history to draw from when creating the character. I had a chance to visit the set of Shazam! last year, and in getting a look at the new film, it was clear that the New 52 reboot version of the character was a significant part of the inspiration of the movie. However, this recent update to the character isn't the only part of comic book history that being used to design the film version. As director David F. Sandberg explained on the set...
Yeah, I wanted to incorporate a little bit of everything, not just in 52, but the older stuff as well, which is... The suit is one part of that where it's like, 'Yeah, I want the shorter cape of like the Golden Age.' But then we ... And like, 'Let's try the hood from the new 52.' And little things like that, and trying to balance it. So we have things and references from the old comics, but a lot of the story takes inspiration from the new 52. So it's a combination of like, 'Oh, I like this, and we like that, and let's put it together.
With a history 80 years long, Shazam, or as he was known for most of that time, Captain Marvel, has been through it all. We've seen numerous changes to the hero over the decades, including the New 52 reboot from 2011. That version of the character sees teenage Billy Batson as a troubled foster kid who ends up in a home with several other children before being given the powers of Shazam. That's very much the origin story that we will see in the movie, but there's a lot more where that came from.
The costume, as David F. Sandberg mentions, has elements of both the classic Captain Marvel and modern Shazam on display, which therefore makes it different than either. Clearly, the filmmakers weren't worried about making sure that the film version of Shazam fit some sort of preconceived notion, and instead used whatever they could find to make the best movie possible.
Zachary Levi specifically mentioned the comic series Kingdom Come was a major influence for him. Even though the story itself will have nothing to do with the Shazam! movie, it did give Levi special insight into the sort of character he was playing.
I did quite like Kingdom Come. Even though that's a completely different situation, it shows Captain Marvel in a really incredible... the innocence. He's an adult and he still has that heart. I thought, 'That's such a cool thing to be able to take that in and is ultimately a sacrificial move at the end and all of that.' I just found that was more inspiration for me than even The New 52 in a lot of ways
Those who have been fans of Captain Marvel throughout the decades will likely want to keep an eye out for the ways that the various iterations of the character are represented in the new film. In addition to the direct references, there are also some easter egg references to the classic character fans will surely recognize.
Check out the newest look at Shazam! in the new trailer below.
Shazam! hits theaters in April.