While most of the focus in the DC Expanded Universe has been on next month’s Justice League film and the various spin-offs involving its stars, Warner Bros. has other big plans afoot. One of the studio’s other big DC superhero films has officially found its lead, as actor Zachary Levi has been cast to play the title hero in Shazam!.
If you aren’t familiar with the character of Shazam, you may be too young to remember him in his heyday, or perhaps you know him better as Captain Marvel.
The character first appeared in Whiz Comics back in 1940 and was the most popular superhero of that decade, outselling even Superman.
A young boy named Billy Batson has the ability to turn into the adult male Captain Marvel whenever he speaks the magic word “shazam.”
(In case you’re curious, “shazam” is an acronym for the immortal elders Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.)
The rights to Captain Marvel passed through several hands in the decades that followed and eventually came into conflict with Marvel Comics, who had their own character named Captain Marvel.
As a result, DC Comics was forced to publish their Captain Marvel books under the title Shazam!, leading many to believe that was actually the character’s name (and the company made it official in 2011).
Horror director David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) is helming Shazam!, the next DC film to go before the camera.
Levi, who’s already had a minor superhero role in the three Thor movies for Marvel, beat out John Cena and several others to land the lead role in Shazam!.
No release date has been scheduled for the film, but it’s expected that filming will begin in February 2018. Warner Bros. also has plans for a Flash standalone film, a Batgirl film from Joss Whedon, and a sequel to last year’s Suicide Squad.