SHAZAM THE MOVIE: What You Need To Know About The Movie
In the coming years, moviegoers will find themselves uttering the true magic word:Shazam! Part of the DC Extended Universe’s upcoming film slate will be the story of youngster Billy Batson, who with one simple word can turn into the superhero Shazam, formerly referred to as Captain Marvel, an adult hero with powers ranging from super strength and flight to various forms of magic.
For kids who pretend to be superheroes on the playground and around their house, being able to turn into one instantly is the ultimate wish fulfillment! Okay, let’s be real, a lot of us who are adults would love this opportunity as well.
Captain Marvel/Shazam has been fighting crime on the comic book pages for over eight decades (though he was put on ice for 20 years), and has been one of DC Comics’ most popular characters since the 1970s. Aside from a film serial released in the early 1940s, this project will mark Shazam’s full-length theatrical debut after years of appearances in cartoons, video games and even a live-action TV series.
The film is still a little under three years away (though that may be subject to change), but there is still enough to chew on, both about what’s already been announced, like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson playing main antagonist Black Adam, and what we may end up seeing. Here’s everything we know so far about Shazam.
When Is The Shazam Release Date?
Shazam was originally expected to hit theaters on April 5, 2019. At the time, that was placing it right after the unnamed DC film being released on October 5, 2018, but before Justice League 2 comes out on June 14, 2019. Even though the DCEU has gone through numerous scheduling changes since late 2014, it now looks like a certainty that Shazam will keep that spot. April is an unusual time for a big blockbuster movie to come out, but as Captain America: The Winter Soldier proved in 2014, that doesn’t mean they can’t be successful in that release slot. That may not be as applicable to Shazam, considering that Winter Soldier was a sequel and most people aren’t familiar with Shazam the character (the word, much more so). Still, it’s more likely than not that slot will be beneficial to Shazam, as there won’t be much competition, giving it plenty of room to stretch its legs.
It was quite a while before Shazam confirmed who would be directing the superhero flick, but in July 2017, it was announced that David F. Sandberg had officially obtained the job. Sandberg’s moviemaking experience primarily rests in the horror realm with movies like Lights Out and Annabelle 2. Having him helm a movie about a boy who becomes a fully-grown superhero upon exclaiming a word sounds like a weird pairing, but it wouldn’t be the first unorthodox pick for a superhero director. Remember, Aquaman director James Wan also has a horror background. And, Sandberg himself has said that he thinks he’s the best person for the job since he didn’t grow up knowing a lot about the hero.
Shazam Was Previously Known As Captain Marvel (Zachary Levi)
Billy Batson, a.k.a Captain Marvel, was created by Fawcett Comics in 1940, and at one point was considered the most popular superhero of the 1940s. Like most comic book characters, Billy’s origins have been retconned several times, but the basic premise remains the same. Orphaned at a young age, young Billy was led by a mysterious stranger through a subway tunnel. Brought before the ancient wizard Shazam in the Rock of Eternity, he is chosen to receive the powers of Captain Marvel because of the goodness in his heart. Whenever Billy says the word “Shazam!”, a magical lightning bolt strikes him, and he becomes the adult Captain Marvel, though he still has Billy’s intellect and personality.
To transform back into Billy Batson, Captain Marvel just has to say the same word. Each letter in “Shazam” corresponds with one of the magical abilities Billy inherited from various Greek and Roman characters: S for the Wisdom of Solomon; H for the Strength of Hercules; A for the Stamina of Atlas; Z for the Power of Zeus; A for the Courage of Achilles and M for the Speed of Mercury.
The recent name change for the superhero goes back to legal troubles the character faced in the early 1950s. Due to a copyright infringement lawsuit from DC Comics over Captain Marvel’s similarity to Superman, Fawcett Comics agreed to stop publishing stories featuring him and the other members of the Marvel Family, and they weren’t seen again for nearly 20 years. During this interim period, Marvel created their own Captain Marvel and trademarked the name.
So when DC got ahold of Captain Marvel and his supporting cast in the early 1970s, although they could still call him Captain Marvel within their published stories, they couldn’t publish a comic book called “Captain Marvel.” As a result, the various series over the years starring him have had titles circling around the word “Shazam!”
It took around four years, but plot details have been revealed about Shazam. With principal photography beginning at the end of January 2018, we were finally given an idea of what the overall storyline for the movie would be, and we’re pleased to say that the story is a classic origin tale that features many aspects of the comics.
Take a look at the synopsis released by Warner Bros.:
So, we’ll see Billy playing around with his newfound superpowers to figure out just how crazy powerful he is, and then, hopefully, getting used to what he can do enough to take down Dr. Sivana and whatever minions (supervillains always have minions) he has causing trouble all over the place. Since the Wizard will play a definite part in this story, maybe audiences will also get some details regarding his background, and magic as a whole in the DCEU. After Wonder Woman, Shazam is the next best film to go down this path.