Shazam has been in development for quite some time, but things really got going when Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson signed on to play Black Adam, the villain and (in Rock’s words) anti-hero. The Rock was originally offered the role of Shazam but said he preferred Black Adam because he was “inherently more interesting to me because I felt there were more layers to Black Adam starting out as a slave and then ultimately becoming the anti-hero who we enjoy today.”
More recently, we learned Shazam was splitting into two movies, one featuring Shazam and another delving into Black Adam’s backstory. With Wonder Woman‘s success, it seems DC wanted to move quickly with other characters having a hopeful tone, and Shazam was moved to the front of the line, with director David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) at the helm.
Sandberg offered updates about Shazam‘s progress in a long interview with Film Riot. He confirmed the script is finished and Shazam is — according to him — the next film on the DC slate. He said The Rock’s Black Adam was in earlier versions of the script, but isn’t anymore. He boiled down the reason for The Rock’s absence: “This is about Shazam.” Man, it’s almost like they think The Rock is too charismatic to not distract everyone from Shazam’s origin stor– oh.
The director also discussed some of the comics he’s been reading in preparation:
“Some of those really old ones are quite fun, when he’s, like, fighting Hitler. Stuff like that. […] He’s been around since the ’40s […] so there’s a lot to read and that’s also interesting because he sort of has a couple of different origin stories […] You have the most recent sort of Geoff Johns version and then you have [Ordway’s] version and then you have those really old versions.”
Considering the week we’ve been having, we’re cool with Shazam hopping in a time machine and punching Hitler.
At one point, the release date for Shazam was April 5th, 2019, but that may change. An actor hasn’t been announced to play Billy Batson / Shazam yet, although The Rock suggested Armie Hammer for the role.