For the better part of a decade, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been eagerly talking up his desire to star in a Shazam movie, and it’s going to be at least three years before we see Johnson suit up as Shazam’s nemesis, Black Adam on the big screen. Given the somewhat dour nature of the first few movies in DC’s Extended Universe, however, many fans have questioned how the more light-hearted Shazam could fit into that world. Now, Johnson’s production partner Dany Garcia has offered an explanation about the way that Shazam stands on its own.
While speaking to Newsweek, Garcia said that she and Johnson are heavily involved in all aspects of the Shazam movie, which is set up at New Line instead of Warner Bros. That has apparently allowed this project to have a certain level of creative freedom while still keeping it in the larger DC world.
“Shazam is to live in the same world [as the other films] but we have incredible autonomy over this brand and franchise,” said Garcia. “We are working with a different team, different producers, directors… it’s a different set-up.” She added that “we don’t feel fettered by, or constrained by, the successes or failures and challenges of the other projects. That was a key component to our participation—that we be able to control the tone and the voice, and do it the way we want to.”
The Shazam comic books (which prior to 2011, still called its leading hero “Captain Marvel“) have almost always been more humorous than the adventures of Superman, Batman, and the rest of the DC Universe. More recent takes on the franchise have transformed Black Adam from a one-note villain into a sympathetic anti-hero who has powers that rival both Shazam and Superman. That’s probably one of the reasons that Johnson was attracted to the role in the first place.
Most of the major roles in Shazam have yet to be cast, and it may be quite a while before we learn who will play the title character or his younger alter ego, Billy Batson. Shazam is currently slated to be released on April 5, 2019.
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Image: DC Comics