‘Shazam’ Movie Not Connected to ‘Justice League’ Shared Universe?

Published 3 months ago by , Updated September 8th, 2014 at 9:57 am,

Shazam Movie Justice League DC Universe Conenctions Shazam Movie Not Connected to Justice League Shared Universe?

DC’s Shazam movie is happening – but even as we today confirmed that Dwayne “The Rock Johnson” is playing Black Adam, the film’s villain, there have been other details surrounding the project that are raising a few questions.

One noticeable anomaly is that the film is being produced by New Line Cinema – the subsidiary of Warner Bros. Pictures that has housed films like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. While Warner Bros. has partnered with studios like Legendary Pictures to produce films like The Dark Knight trilogy and Man of Steel, New Line is a new player in this superhero game; why they are housing Shazam (and if that’s the only film they’re producing) remains unclear.

The other big anomaly is that Johnson made the announcement of his Black Adam role without the studio providing additional info like a release date, director, or casting announcement of the actor(s) playing the titular hero, for that matter. It’s still early, but one would think something more official would have come from the initial casting reveal.

Well, EW has spoken to New Line president Toby Emmerich, and the Shazam film he describes has us mulling over even more questions. Read closely at Emmerich’s description of the Shazam film New Line is envisioning:

“It feels to me like Shazam will have a tone unto itself,” he explains. “It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character, and it’s not a Marvel comic. The tone and the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies… [It] will have a sense of fun and a sense of humor. But the stakes have to be real.”

Okay, so a couple of things immediately come to mind:

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“Not a Justice League Character”?

Justice League Movie Discussion Characters Shazam Movie Not Connected to Justice League Shared Universe?

Um… What? DC Comics has gone to great lengths to position Shazam in the fully-connected, Justice League-centered, DC New 52 comic book universe. In fact, the New 52 Shazam was actually first introduced in the Justice League comic book, and the character (a longtime member of the League) was also recently featured in the DC Universe animated adaptation Justice League: War as a controversial replacement for Aquaman (who will be featured in the next Justice League animated movie).

Even before the New 52 reboot, Shazam was partnered with Superman for an animated short called The Return of Black Adam – a seeming test run for the character’s effectiveness onscreen (as well as that of his nemesis).

Justice League War Wonder Woman Cyborg Green Lantern Shazam Shazam Movie Not Connected to Justice League Shared Universe?

‘Justice League: War’ featuring Shazam

Point being: This is a character who has long been part of the League, and was clearly being groomed for the new Justice League multimedia brand DC/WB is creating.

In that sense, there are only three ways to read Emmerich’s comments: 1. He doesn’t know his comic book history (totally possible for a studio exec); 2. He misspoke (a publicist’s best defense); 3. He just revealed that the Shazam movie is not connected to the upcoming Justice League movie.

Additional facts lend that latter theory a bit more credit…

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A Varied Schedule

dc entertainment logo Shazam Movie Not Connected to Justice League Shared Universe?

A couple of months back, online scoop-chaser Nikkie Finke leaked a rumored DC/WB superhero movie release date plan, which read like this:

  • May 2016 – Batman v Superman
  • July 2016 – Shazam
  • Xmas 2016 – Sandman
  • May 2017 – Justice League
  • July 2017 – Wonder Woman
  • Xmas 2017 – Flash and Green Lantern team-up
  • May 2018 – Man Of Steel 2

In the months since, additional sources and even official announcements from the studio itself have lent credit that some (if not all) of the above is pretty likely to happen. Now, as then, the question remains: how would the studio pull off a shared universe THIS rapidly? Ambition isn’t the word for it.

David S. Goyer Interview DC Movie TV Universe 1024x529 Shazam Movie Not Connected to Justice League Shared Universe?

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However, a closer look reveals some interesting new possibilities: Sandman and Shazam, the two other movies rumored for release in 2016 – the same year as Justice League launchpad Batman V Superman: Dawn of JusticeCOULD conceivably be their own things, apart from the Justice League universe. That would explain how DC/WB will build a superhero universe very rapidly (through subsidiary studios and independent creative teams) – while also taking advantage of both sides of the “solo films vs team-up films” debate that fans (and the Screen Rant staff) have been arguing over all along.

We recently breakdown the issue of Superhero Movie Overload in the film industry, and our speculation was what you see unfolding right in front of you.

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NEXT PAGE: The NEW DC Movie Strategy…

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TAGS: justice league, shazam

142 Comments

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  1. Personally, I’m fine either way, connected to each other or not. If “Shazam” is NOT part of the DC filmverse, I will enjoy it (provided, of course, it’s a good film) as another look at, an alternate perspective on, characters I love. If the film/the character IS a part of the larger heroic universe, magic and lighter tonal elements might more easily/effectively be brought in. As for those people saying this hero and his young alter ego cannot possibly/logically fit into the DCCU as it is being established, I say BULL. Two exposures might open you up to the possibility a little more: Read KINGDOM COME. Talk to a teen who has been orphaned and has had experience with life on the streets. Not only CAN Shazam/Billy fit very well into the universe being built; he might, in fact, fit much better tonally than a lot of the more well-known, mainstream heroes.

    Just something to think about…

  2. Sometimes the way people are quoted in articles is not exactly the way it came out.

    I’m guessing the “not a Justice League character” was actually in reference to the Rock playing Black Adam.

  3. Either not everybody at WB/DC is on the same page, or they are on the same page but in different books. This whole plan by WB/DC just seems & feels like a poorly planned rush job. I’m looking forward to BvS & I’m hoping it’s good, but beyond that I don’t think WB/DC really know what they are doing.

    It also seems that perhaps WB/DC through New Line is FINALLY taking a page out of Marvel’s enormously sucessful playbook with a little bit of a lighter tone/humor for Shazam. That alone will make this movie better.

    By the way, why would they waste the popularity of a guy like the Rock on a villain like Black Adam? Why not capitalize on his popularity with a hero like Shazam or even somebody else more popular? The whole casting process at WB/DC for their movies seems very convoluted.

    • Oh your question is easy to answer. The Villain in most super-hero films normally are more popular then the actual hero these days. Think of what Heath Ledger did for The Dark Knight, or Catwoman in Batman Returns, Dr. Octopus in Superman2, or Jim Carey in Batman Forever..

      Making the Rock Black Adam is a good choice because it will draw people in just to see the rock play a bad guy.

      • Have you seen that poster of Superman crawling up a wall and shooting out a web, with the caption that goes like “Green Lantern is about to save Gotham City”?

        That’s what I pictured when I read “Dr. Octopus in Superman 2″.

  4. Sorry, when did ‘Shazam’ (or Captain Marvel, for that matter) become a “longtime member of the League”? Oh, never? Interesting journalistic technique…

  5. I still don’t understand the “Flash/GL Team Up” movie… I means sure, it might work for Batman V Superman, but seriously why pull your punches like that? Give us a stand-alone GL movie and a stand-alone Flash venture. Better yet, make neither and give us the Martian Manhunter!

  6. I wouldn’t read as much into that as the writer has. I take “not a Justice League character” to refer more specifically to the current plans for SvB and the upcoming Justice League film, not that the character doesn’t exist in the universe DC is creating. Also, the tone of Shazam has to be MUCH lighter than we’ve seen in these Batman and Superman films. That doesn’t mean the character isn’t canonically part of this universe, but that the character just doesn’t fit in with that level of cynical, humorless darkness. (Wasn’t there an article suggesting they wanted absolutely NO jokes showing up in the new films coming out?) I can see the suggestion of it “not connecting” to JL, but specifically referring to storylines and characters. It could still be shown to connect to the overall cinema universe DC is creating.

  7. I think the Shazam movie will be independent of the DCU but not exclusive of it. What I mean is, they will make it a stand alone thing, but if it takes off they’ll spin him into the JL movie. The Shazam movie will have it’s own story and follow it’s own myths but it will be open ended enough that it could click into the DCU/JL projects easily.

  8. DC has officially f**k up for sure.

    • No. They haven’t…for sure.

  9. I don’t think most people (except a newer breed of comic readers)typically thinks of Captain Marvel as a Justice league member.

  10. I don’t think most people (except a newer breed of comic readers) typically thinks of Captain Marvel as a Justice League member.

  11. Just because he said Shazam isn’t a “Justice League character” doesn’t mean he doesn’t exist in the same universe… The only way it is not a part of the Cinematic canon, is if it does very poorly.

  12. Sandman is never going to happen. I read an article saying basically the same thing like 2 weeks ago.