Shazam! 2, a.k.a. Shazam! Fury of the Gods, is taking longer to arrive than initially expected, but the sequel is slowly coming together. Last month, it was announced that West Side Story star Rachel Zegler was joining the cast, and today brings word that Helen Mirren, who’s left a distinct imprint on the Fast & Furious franchise in recent years, will also take part in the Shazam Family’s next cinematic adventure.
Helen Mirren has been tapped to appear in Shazam! Fury of the Gods as the villain Hespera, a daughter of the Greek god Atlas. For those unfamiliar with the Shazam! mythos, Atlas is one of the ancient deities/figures that Billy Batson draws his power from, with Atlas specifically providing the superhuman stamina. Hespera doesn’t have a counterpart in the DC Comics canon, but THR has heard from sources that Mirren’s character and Rachel Zegler’s yet-to-be-identified character are sisters “who both may or may not be of ill intent.”
While most of you likely think of sophisticated and dramatic roles when thinking about Helen Mirren’s filmography (such as her Academy Award-winning turn as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen), she’s also built up a solid lineup of action-related work. For one thing, Shazam! Fury of the Gods marks the actress’ second time working on a DC Comics-related property, as she previously starred as Victoria Winslow in the RED movies. But more notably, she’s popped up as Magdalene Shaw in The Fate of the Furious and Hobbs & Shaw, and she’s taking part in the upcoming F9.
No specific plot details for Shazam! Fury of the Gods have been revealed yet, but the title alone means no one should be shocked that characters connected to Greek gods will be showing up. We’ll have to wait and see if Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Hespera is influenced by a different DC Comics character or if the actress is working with a completely new characterization, but either way, this is a major score for the Shazam! sequel.
It also remains to be seen how Mark Strong’s Doctor Thaddeus Sivana and Mister Mind factor into Shazam! Fury of the Gods, if at all. In Shazam!’s mid-credits scene, Mind proposed an alliance with the imprisoned Sivana to conquer the Seven Realms. If they’re appearing in the sequel, are they working with Hespera and any other villains who may show up, or will their schemes bring them into conflict with both the Shazam Family and Hespera? Once again, there’s a lot about this movie still shrouded in mystery.
Behind the scenes, David F. Sandberg is back in the director’s chair for Shazam! Fury of the Gods. He’ll be working off a script penned by Henry Gayden, who wrote the first Shazam! movie. The Shazam! corner of the DCEU is also expanding with Black Adam, which will see the Dwayne Johnson-portrayed eponymous character colliding with the Justice Society of America. It still hasn’t been announced when Shazam and Black Adam will fight in the DCEU, although as Zachary Levi noted a few years back, Shazam! 3 would be a good platform for that to happen.