Well folks, Warner Bros. and DC has pulled yet another fast one, as it was revealed Friday evening that Chuck star Zachary Levi has joined DC’s extended universe in the titular role of Shazam!. WB and DC has been hard at work for years, trying to build their superhero universe, and although Justice League is less than a month away from being released (finally), the studio has also been developing what feels like a dozen other superheroes behind closed doors, with Shazam! being the next in line.
As first reported by THR, Levi joins a long list of big names to take on DC heroes, but this is by far the outlying story among DC’s ranks. Shazam! follows Billy Batson, a young boy who, after being granted magical powers, transforms into a super-powered adult simply saying “Shazam!”. And as THR notes in their article, Shazam! is an acronym from “the ancient world gods and historical figures Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury, from which the big Batson derives his heroic attributes when in adult form,” which may be the exact way Geoff Johns and company infuse his story into the DCEU. Now if you remember, Zack Snyder used Greek Mythology as the already sort of blueprint for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, even making it canon that Wonder Woman is in fact the daughter of Zeus, rather than crafted from clay.
The role of Shazam! has been up for grabs for quite some time now. With Dwayne Johnson taking on the Black Adam character, it seemed like WB and DC were taking their time in finding someone who can stand toe-to-toe with The Rock, with names like Armie Hammer and John Cena being thrown around. That makes Levi a pretty surprising choice for the studio that likes big bolstering actors, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a perfect one.
While it would’ve been fun to see someone like Hammer or Cena throw punches with Johnson, Levi is the perfect counter to Johnson’s Black Adam. For those of you who don’t know much about Billy Batson and Shazam!, Batson doesn’t all the sudden become more mature when transforming, he’s still very much a kid, just with god-like powers. Levi has a strong comedic background, which means he’ll be able to capture that aspect of the character better than most. Not to mention that it’ll be drastically different from Johnson’s Black Adam, who is basically just the evil version of Shazam!. But that, of course, all depends on if Johnson and his Black Adam even appear in the film.
It’s pretty unclear as to what DC’s real plan is, as Shazam! is actually the next movie in development. Does it sit well with you that Billy Batson’s story will follow Aquaman rather than a Ben Affleck Batman, Flashpoint or a sequel to Man of Steel or Wonder Woman? What do you think about the casting of Zachary Levi? Sound off in the comments!