After Justice League failing to light the box-office on fire and falling way short of the gigantic expectations, the DC fans have moved on and are now looking forward to the slate of movies announced by DC Entertainment and WB.
The next movie that is in the production is Aquaman starring Jason Momoa and Amber Heard to be directed by James Wan, it is scheduled to be released in December 2018 as of now. There are three movies that are in the works – Shazam, Flashpoint and Wonder Woman 2.
Fans have patiently waited for DCEU to pick up the pace but after the disappointments that were Man of Steel, Suicide Squad, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League, we have pretty much let go of all hope.
Instead, we bank on a miracle to come out of WB as the studio keeps on announcing new movies. They can’t possibly get it wrong all the time, now can they. In an attempt to cover up its past blunders, the studio set a release date for its upcoming project ‘Shazam’.
The movie is set to hit theatres on April 5, 2019. It stars Asher Angel as Billy Batson, Zachary Levi as Shazam and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as Black Adam.
Zach is a tremendous actor and has the capability to be Shazam, a movie which will be very different than the ones under development in the DC Films Universe. He is not new to comic-book roles as we saw him as Fandral (one of the three warriors) in Thor: The Dark World.
He is one of those rare actors who will accomplish the feat of appearing in both DC and Marvel movies. He has also appeared in Heroes: Reborn. There were two more actors who were in the running for the role of old, superpowered version of Billy Batson – John Cena and Joshua Sasse.
What do we know of the Shazam project? The answer is not much. We know that the movie will showcase the classic Shazam ‘origin story’ If you’re not familiar with the character then let me give you a little background.
Billy Batson is just your average teenager until one day the wizard Shazam bestows him with the powers of a God. Now everytime Billy Batson says the word ‘Shazam’, the scrawny teenager is transformed into a hulking adult wizard with the power of 6 Gods.
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
M for the Speed of Mercury
Isn’t that just a dream come true, a teenager with the body of an adult superhero brimming with power facing off against mythical creatures and deviants alike. The story of Shazam revolves around Billy Batson coming to terms with his newfound powers.
Billy is a young boy who gained the ability to transform into an adult Superhero with lightning and mystical powers. This miracle happens when he just utters the word ‘Shazam!’ Shazam is actually a combination of 6 mythical figures – Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. These cosmic creatures/ Gods are the ones who grant their powers to Billy Batson.
The movie project is yet to receive a clear storyline. Though WB has already cast Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Shazam’s primary antagonist “Black Adam”, It is highly unlikely that Black Adam will be the main cause of conflict in the Shazam movie.
It seems more plausible to let the audience be familiarized with the character in the first movie and then expand on the Black Adam storyline in the Black Adam solo project. Fun Fact: Dwayne Johnson’s casting as Black Adam was perhaps the only casting choice that has the fans so pre-release a DCEU project.
According to THR, Mark Strong is almost confirmed to play the big villain Dr. Sivana who is the most terrifying adversary of Shazam in the DC comics. Mark is no stranger to comic-book roles as he was stunning as Sinestro in Ryan Reynolds starrer Green Lantern movie which despite best efforts of actors bombed at the box-office.
Dr. Sivana, an iconic villain, made his comic-book debut in 1940’s Whiz Comics #2. He was born in Europe in 1800’s. He had an enormous hunger for invention and discovery and he pushed himself to understand the forces of the universe, which made him an object of ridicule. He became one of the world’s most brilliant minds. He left Earth and resettled in Venus but unfortunately there also he cultivated hatred for humanity. He decided to avenge his personal humiliation from the people of Earth and held to ransom the entire planet by holding back all of the world’s communications, but Shazam intervened and finally saved the day.
The placement of the Shazam project in the DCEU timeline also dictates that we may get cameos in the Shazam movie by heroes like Superman or Batman. You need someone to Foster the young, right?
This also implies that the Shazam project may be a welcome break from the DCEU’s dark and gritty tone. So far we’ve seen the studio has messed up one storyline after another, by not only trying to introduce too many concepts but also taking the story too seriously.
The result was that DCEU movies not only bored their viewers but also generated mostly negative reviews from critics (with the exception of Wonder Woman). Fans stuck around for comic book nostalgia but DC is at the end of their rope.
The movie will be directed by David F. Sandberg. It is a huge opportunity for him as he has never been at the helm of a massive undertaking such as this. He has previously directed horror movies like Lights out, Annabelle: Creation etc. which were box-office successes. It is also a risk on the part of WB to hand over a major project to an ill-experienced director, but whatever we have seen till now David seem to be going in the right direction.
Recently, he hinted at the arrival of Batman in Shazam as he shared DC Animated project video on his Instagram where Billy is lying unconscious, Batman comes to him, Billy wakes up and turns into Shaam.
Whatever the case be, be it a movie about serious issues, or be it a fun ride for the sole reason for developing the character of Billy Batson aka Shazam. Fans wait patiently as the pre-production stage progresses at a painstakingly slow pace.
We hope that DC will do justice to the source material, but it is hard to even speculate before we have a director for the project. All our hopes and speculations will have to be directed at the cast for the time being, and what a cast that is.
If not focused on the Black Adam and Shazam conflict, it’s a safe bet to say that the story of the movie would revolve around Billy’s high school life. This gives a chance to the DCEU to Target the young adult section of their audiences like Marvel did with Spider-Man: Homecoming.
The advantage of showcasing an amateur superhero like Shazam is being able to lighten the tone of the narrative without losing the much-needed depth throughout the movie. Let’s wait patiently for April 5, 2019.