In the 1940s, the most popular comic book superhero was not Superman. It was a hero called Captain Marvel, the superpowered adult alter-ego of a child named Billy Batson. Originally published by Fawcett Comics, Captain Marvel eventually moved to DC, which started publishing under a different name to avoid confusion (as well as a trademark dispute) with Marvel Comic’s own Captain Marvel. The new title, and eventually new name for this hero was Shazam!
New Line Cinema started work in the early 2000s to make a live-action Shazam! film, and the project stayed alive when New Line was absorbed by Warner Brothers. While shifting tones, many different writers, and even an announcement that a TV show would be made instead left things up in the air for awhile, it finally became official in 2014 that there would be a movie version of Shazam! starring Dwayne Johnson as it’s villain, Black Adam. The film is scheduled to be released in 2019 as a part of the DC Extended Universe.
With a villain cast but no one signed on to play the hero yet, one actor who wants the role has turned to Instagram to express his desire. First reported by ComicBook.com, Derek Theler, best known for his role on the sitcom Baby Daddy has used the social networking site multiple times to let the world know that he wants to play the adult Shazam! His account has multiple mocked up pictures of himself as the hero, captioned with his comments about loving the character and always with the hashtags #shazam, #captainmarvel, and #dream.
Boosting the possibility of him taking on the role is that Theler knows Dwayne Johnson. He appeared in Johnson’s Rocks the Promo campaign and the actors met during filming. Though it is not clear if Johnson is pushing for Theler, or if Theler is simply hoping their working relationship will help him land the role.
If cast, Shazam would be Theler’s first lead role in a major motion picture. It would not be his first brush with playing a hero however, he played Thor in a sketch on Conan, and Loki in another sketch on The Tonight Show back when Conan was the host. He also auditioned for Captain America, though of course that role ended up going to Chris Evans. His next role is in the comic book based series Ninjack vs. the Valiant Universe.
Shazam! is currently scheduled for release in April 2019.