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The DC Extended Universe is a franchise that seems to have a bright future. Because after a few missteps, the last slew of movies have all been critical successes. This includes David F. Sandberg's Shazam!, which had a strong box office outing when it hit theaters in 2019. Actor Zachary Levi plays the title character once Billy transforms into a superhero, but it turns out the actor thought that Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam would prevent him from landing the role.
Zachary Levi has had a long career in TV and film, and embodied the youthful naivety of Shazam perfectly in his DC debut. Its hard to imagine anyone else playing that character, but Levi didn't actually think he'd get it. Namely, because in the comics his superhero is basically identical to the villain Black Adam. And considering that he doesn't resemble The Rock, there was a potential roadblock to his casting. As Levi recently explained,
Per the comic books, Black Adam and Captain Marvel — my true namesake — they're yin and yang to one another. They are identical. It’s actually why I didn’t think I even had a chance of getting this job. He was already cast as Black Adam, I knew enough to know that Captain Marvel/Shazam and Black Adam were basically doppelgängers, just with a slightly different color scheme and hair cut. I was like, 'No one's gonna hire me to be The Rock's twin. don't think this is going to work out.' Thank God I was wrong. Black Adam is from the Captain Marvel/Shazam part of the DC universe, so I hope [they meet]. I think that would be awesome to be able to go and do that.
Well, he's got a point. Zachary Levi clearly knows his comic books, and therefore typed himself out of playing Shazam before his audition for Warner Bros. even happened. After all, he doesn't look exactly like Dwayne Johnson in regards to stature or physical features. Then again, who looks quite like The Rock besides The Rock?
Zachary Levi's comments come from his recent appearance on Dan Fogler's 4D experience alongside Shazam! co-star and Walking Dead actor Cooper Andrews. While the 39 year-old actor already had comic book experience from playing Fandral in the Thor franchise, his tenure in the MCU likely informed his preconceived notions about what DC was looking for in the character Shazam.
Shazam! is currently streaming on HBO Max. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
In the end, Zachary Levi got the title character of Shazam!, with his performance in the blockbuster praised by critics and audiences alike. As for Dwayne Johnson, he still hasn't made his DCEU debut as Black Adam, especially since filming for his solo flick was delayed amid global health issues. Meanwhile Levi, he's going to continue his run as a hero in Shazam! Fury of the Gods which is set to hit theaters in 2022.
Fans are eager to see Shazam and Black Adam finally meet and due battle sometime in the future of the DC Extended Universe. But it's unclear exactly when that might be, as it doesn't look like either of the upcoming solo flicks will feature a crossover. But the characters are inherently connected, so hopefully Warner Bros. leans back in on serialized storytelling for these two particular characters.