Zachary Levi is a man familiar with the world of superheroes. Not only is the actor a lifelong comic book fan, but he also screen tested for the role of Star Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy and of course played Fandral, one of the Warriors Three, in the last two Thor films. When we visited the Toronto-based set of Shazam!, Levi opened up to us about his disappointment around Marvel’s treatment of Fandral, and why being killed off in the MCU was the best thing that ever happened to him.
With his very recent Marvel death fresh in his mind, we wondered if Levi was worried about the potential of history repeating itself, but his answer was firm. “No, because I’m the Earth’s mightiest mortal—what the hell are they going to do to me?” he said. “I knew that the Warriors Three could be really fun characters if they ever developed them. They just didn’t. They didn’t in the first one. They didn’t really in Dark World. Even when I got killed, there was more to that scene. I knew Fandral could be fodder, would be fodder.”
Though Levi clearly isn’t thrilled about his old character’s fate, it’s something that’s ended up opening the door to what he sees as one of the best experiences of his life. “But then the truth is, to be honest: Let’s say Fandral was still alive and they tapped me to be in Avengers—I’d probably be sitting in Atlanta for three months doing almost nothing and then they’d be, ‘Okay, now we’re ready for you. You guys go in,’ and then we’d get killed then,” Levi said. “The way it all worked out is exactly the way it was supposed to. Certainly, in the moment, would it have been cool if Fandral got more to do? Dude, what a fun character. Errol Flynn. Viking. Space God. Like, c’mon. Ladies man. C’mon! That’s all fun. So that was a little bit of a bummer. But looking back, if I didn’t die, I might still be under contract with Marvel and I never would’ve been able to get this job. And I say, ‘F*** that!'”
Despite all the drama though, Shazam is obviously a role that Levi loves and that’s incredibly fulfilling for the actor. “This is the coolest thing ever,” he said. “I’m so happy to literally be able to jumpstart my life. I’m healthier and stronger and happier than I’ve ever been in my life. The people I get to work with, on and off screen here, have been tremendous.”
Shazam! hits theaters on April 5.
Images: Disney, Warner Bros.