Shazam! has long been in development, but things finally moved forward recently after Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson signed on to play the villain Black Adam, who will also be — in Rock’s words — an anti-hero. Although we don’t know for certain if Johnson will appear in Shazam! (he probably won’t) or if he’ll hold off until a sequel or (most likely) the Black Adam standalone movie, we’ve learned Johnson will be an executive producer on Shazam!, and we now also know a lot more about the plot and cast thanks to a press release.
New Line’s press release starts with some things we already know: the film is now in production; it’s being directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation); and it stars Zachary Levi (Chuck) as Shazam, Asher Angel (Andi Mack) as Billy Batson, and Mark Strong (Kingsman) as the villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. But then the release veers off into some plot details and surprising cast members.
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Asher Angel) case, by shouting out one word — SHAZAM! — this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult super hero Shazam (Zachary Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart — inside a ripped, godlike body — Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).
Shazam! also stars Jack Dylan Grazer (IT) as Billy’s best friend and ultimate superhero enthusiast, Freddy, part of the foster family that includes Mary, played by Grace Fulton (Annabelle: Creation); Darla, played by Faithe Herman (This is Us); Eugene, played by Ian Chen (Fresh Off the Boat); and Pedro, played by Jovan Armand (Hawaii Five-O). Cooper Andrews (The Walking Dead) and Marta Milans (Killer Women) play foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez, with Ron Cephas Jones (This is Us) as the Wizard.
As expected, they’re emphasizing the lighter tone and playfulness to differentiate Shazam! from the rest of the DC Extended Universe. They’re on track to finish in time for the announced release date of April 5th, 2019.
The press release also points out that the film is set primarily in Philadelphia but will film in Toronto. They better start lighting some things on fire in Toronto if they want this to be convincing.