THE ROCK WILL NOT BE “SHAZAM!”
ZACHARY LEVI WILL PLAY THE TITULAR CHARACTER (NOT THE ROCK LIKE EVERYONE THOUGHT)
Shazam! has been dishing out the anticipation when it came to revealing the film’s star. For the first set of developmental months, everyone thought Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) would play the hero role. It was later revealed that The Rock was cast as Black Adam for a solo movie. Black Adam was supposed to appear in the Shazam! film but now fans are unsure if the Black Adam that does appear will be The Rock or someone else entirely.
What has been established, however, is the role of the hero. Zachary Levi (starred in Chuck) has been tapped to take on the role. For those who are unfamiliar, Chuck was an NBC show that aired between 2007 and 2012 where the titular character was a slacker computer genius called on by the CIA to stop terror plots and solve cold cases regarding national security. It was a decent blend of spy drama/action and slacker/fish-out-of-water comedy. In many ways, Shazam! will take a similar direction.
Shazam is the oldest property of DC Comics (debuting under Fawcett Comics in 1939) and originally featured a young boy who transforms into a grown superhero by yelling the word “Shazam!”. When doing this, the boy (Billy Batson) ages into a superhero with the combined powers of Greek gods to become who originally was known as “Captain Marvel” (not to be confused with the Marvel Comics property of the same name). The word “Shazam!” is actually an acronym formed of the first letter of the names of Greek legends Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury.
With Shazam’s origin involving a child, Levi is actually a great fit for the role as the film should be somewhat wondrous compared to the gritty feel of other DC hero films. Levi has also played Fandral from Thor: The Dark World so he’s not a stranger to the hero cinematic universe theme.
The film should be able to remain child-friendly despite Annabelle: Creation and Lights Out director David F. Sandberg picking up this project. Between Sandberg’s direction and Levi’s acting style Shazam! may take on the coming of age/responsibility theme of hero films that DC has yet to produce. Also, The Rock appearing as Black Adam could still be on the table.