Warner Bros. is moving with speed to fill the lead roles of Shazam!, a high-profile picture that brings one of DC Comics’ other super-powered players to the big screen. Also known as Captain Marvel (but let’s face it, that would confuse a lot of people), the comic book creation of artist C. C. Beck and writer Bill Parker is looking likely to roll out to theaters around the world on his 80th anniversary in 2019. He may not be part of the Justice League core (for the moment) but he brings the combined powers of elders Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury together in one body, a welcome collection of abilities for the superhero team.
However, that body and the powers within it come with some complications. We’ve already reported that Zachary Levi will star in the title role as the super-powered wizard, but his fit and fighting form is actually a transformation. By day, Shazam is a 14-year-old kid named Billy Batson. Now, as THR reports, Disney star Asher Angel (Andi Mack) is set to play that role in the Warner Bros./New Line Cinema film.
This may all sound a bit confusing and it will likely take some getting used to for newcomers to the character, but the idea of a kid being able to transform into a superhero at will simply by shouting, “Shazam!” is a fun conceit. Comics and animated adaptations have had a good time with the comedy inherent in that setup over the years, and the live-action DCEU could sure use an organic injection of that comedy. Levi’s a bit of a strange choice until you realize that he’s basically got the body and powers of Superman with the wit, personality, and experience of a teenager.
Mark Strong is also in talks to play the villain with Grace Fulton set up to play a lead. David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) directs from a screenplay by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke.