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DC’s newest star Zachary Levi thinks Shazam! will do for the DC movie universe what Guardians of the Galaxy did for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Warner Bros. is currently exploring all options when it comes to the future of their DC universe following the reception of Justice League , and outside of Aquaman , Shazam! is one of the only other projects that still looks assured to come. The film has come together throughout the year and is in the final stages of pre-production before filming begins early next year.
Some of the more recent updates on Shazam! have been the ones fans have long been waiting for, with casting finally beginning to be announced. The confirmation of Levi in the lead role was the first to come, and Asher Angel will play the other half of the leading role as Billy Batson . Shazam! is still a largely unknown character and his film will have a very different tone than previous DC movies, which is why Levi is thinking it can be DC’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Levi was present at Heroes & Villains Fan Fest in San Jose this weekend and was unsurprisingly caught talking about his upcoming superhero role. In doing so, he compared his solo movie to the franchise many deemed Marvel’s biggest risk, thanks to the obscurity of the characters, but James Gunn’s tone made it a huge hit. Levi believes Shazam! can do the same. Watch a portion of Levi’s panel below, followed by the relevant quote.
“James Gunn and the gang killed it. It brought so much heart and humor and yeah, I think it was kind of like this dark horse that took everybody by storm and I think Shazam kind of has the possibility to do that because Shazam’s not, for all intents and purposes, not Supes it’s not Batman, it’s not Wonder Woman, it’s not what most of the people [expect.]”
While Shazam! can help broaden the DC universe into more mystical elements the same way Guardians broke open the cosmos in the MCU, Levi’s comparison between the two appears to be more in terms of the tone. Marvel films – for better or worse – have always been more lighthearted and family friendly, but DC’s darker approach has not been as well received. Shazam! director David F. Sandberg has said his movie will be DC’s most lighthearted movie , similar to how Guardians took the standard MCU tone up another notch into an almost pure comedy territory.
The other aspect to this is how Shazam! will be DC’s first attempt to introduce lesser known characters in leading roles. They’ve so far relied on Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman, and next up have Jason Momoa’s Aquaman following his debut in Justice League . By giving Shazam a leading role, it could open the floodgates for even more characters that are not household names.
Venturing into these territories could be to DC’s benefit as it makes movies closer to Wonder Woman in tone, but this time with a character that many have no preconceived ideas about when it comes to how they should be portrayed. DC’s Trinity is well-known and have had several incarnations on the big and small screen. The same can’t be said for Shazam and many other DC characters, but only time will tell whether or not this works and Shazam! becomes DC’s breakout hit.