How ‘Man of Steel’ Killed The ‘Shazam’ Movie – For Now

Published 1 year ago by

Man of Steel Killed Shazam Movie How Man of Steel Killed The Shazam Movie   For Now

Warner Bros. and DC Comics may have been late to the party of comic book movies in a ‘shared universe,’ but there’s no denying that Man of Steel has set in motion a plan – or at least a shared foundation – for the company to adapt most of their main superheroes onto the big screen.

But what does that mean for characters like Shazam!, who seemed to be heading to the screen before Superman arrived on the scene? Unfortunately for fans of the magical hero, it seems that Warner Bros. has deemed the box office big enough for just one of the two, at least for the time being.

It’s possible that DC movie fans who are new to the party may not be aware of the fact that when DC and WB were gearing up to develop not one, but several origin films (before Green Lantern helped bring those plans screeching to a halt), the magical Captain Marvel was chief among them, with a script all but completed and director Peter Segal (Grudge Match) attached to direct.

As we all know, those plans also failed to get off the ground, and in an interview with ComingSoon, Segal helped explain why he believes that Superman’s big screen presence makes a Shazam! film a long shot:

“The thing is, Shazam has always lived this tortured life going against Superman. This dates back to the 1930s. Because Captain Marvel had similar powers to Superman, the DC folks back then sued what was the most popular comic book on the stands at that time. Years later, they bought it and it became a DC property but, as long as Superman stays hot in the market place, there seems like a little bit of a crossover between the two characters. After Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns,” it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day. That’s when you heard those stories. Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it’s difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman’s resurgence.”

Superman Shazam Comic Fight How Man of Steel Killed The Shazam Movie   For Now

Segal definitely isn’t wrong in pointing out that while Captain Marvel’s similarities to Superman may have helped the comic succeed in the early days, they make a big screen adaptation more problematic than it otherwise would be. In terms of an origin story, of course, the tale of Shazam! couldn’t be more different; Billy Batson stumbles onto a magical word (“Shazam!”) which turns him into an enormous, musclebound superhero.

Sure, Captain Marvel commands respect for being the only ‘true’ rival of Superman (at least in a fight), but the only real difference between the two once is that one owes his superhuman abilities to his alien physiology, while the other is blessed with magical gifts – something that even Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder’s camp might have a hard time making believable in their grounded universe.

Then again, it would seem that Peter Segal’s past experiences with films like 50 First Dates, Get Smart and now Grudge Match would imply that a serious, grounded look at every little boy’s dream come true was never the plan. Perhaps most surprisingly, Segal went on to address the notion that his failed Shazam! movie would have been laugh-filled, or kid-friendly:

“Well, it wasn’t. I was working with Geoff Johns. At its core, it’s a lot like Superman. There’s this boy trapped inside of a superhero’s body. He’s still a boy inside, so there’s this opportunity to play a lot of humor with the action. Originally, Stan Lee brought me “Fantastic Four” a number of years for that very reason. I always have the question when people bring me superhero properties, “Why me?” With Stan, he said, “It’s because there’s a sense of humor within all Marvel characters.” These characters are flawed and, within those flaws, there is humor. When Toby Emmerich came to me with Shazam, it was because of those same reasons. To draw from that humor and to mix it with great action and pathos. I’ve always loved Shazam, but I don’t know if it’s going to see the light of day anytime soon.”

Superman Shazam Return of Black Adam How Man of Steel Killed The Shazam Movie   For Now

In hindsight, Segal and the studio’s efforts to distance the character from Superman seem evident: first going with the official title of Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam, and now hearing that the script included humor, but wasn’t going to alienate older audiences who took the source material seriously. Any comic fan knows that Captain Marvel’s nemesis Black Adam isn’t kid-friendly in any sense of the word, so we would maintain that a mature take on the comic could still work, if handled properly.

However, even if the child-turned-hero would offer Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel a worthy adversary on film, there’s no avoiding the fact that audiences have seen a similar fight once already. Not to mention that trying to launch two similar heroes would at the very worst have Shazam! pale in comparison, and at the very best split audiences for either movie. So for the time being – and we never thought we’d say this – Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman will have to do.

Do you think Shazam! could work on the big screen? Or do you agree with Segal that despite his potential, the similarities to Superman are too obvious to ignore for mass audiences? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: ComingSoon

Follow Andrew Dyce on Twitter @andrew_dyce
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  1. I would see it. Hell, I just want a movie that’s not Batman or Superman. I don’t even care if its part of a shared universe or not, I just want DC to explore their roster more.

    • “I just want a movie that’s not Batman or Superman.”

      Green Lantern, Jonah Hex, Catwoman, and Constantine are why you aren’t.

      • They barely even count,prime examples of why you should stick to the source material. Catwoman wasn’t even Catwoman. Constantine had nothing to do with the books and Jonah Hex doesn’t have powers. I am one of the few who didn’t have a problem with Green Lantern. It wasn’t great, but I didn’t find it all that bad.

    • This is DC we’re talking about.

      • Yep and the times they tried, it’s like they forced a crappy movie to release just to get the property out there instead of taking their time.

        If they do Jonah Hex again, hopefully it’ll be more like True Grit and less like Cowboys And Aliens (even if I did enjoy C&A).

  2. That would be awesome to bring in Shazam to the big screen!!! They can make him a part of the justice league a la justice league: the flash point paradox!!!

  3. Too bad. With the massive emphasis on the magical and mystical over the last few years, Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam would have fit right in. Maybe even ruled!

  4. They should, if only to introduce Black Adam into the DCCU.

  5. Who cares that much of a shared universe. I want as much as possible big action effect comic cinema movies in first place

  6. Hopefully, it can still happen when the time’s right. Once we get past a rebooted Green Lantern movie and show that magic exists in that universe via John Constantine, we’ll see Billy Batson.

    • billy who powers come from greek gods and heroes is in the same ball park as wonder woman who was created by a greek goddess.

    • I think I heard talk a Justice League: Dark film was well on it’s way to production. Since they deal with more the mystical side of the DC Universe, perhaps Billy and/or Shazam can make their presence felt in that. Heck, he could be their equivalent to Superman in the same way The JLA were using Martian Manhunter to fight Superman.

      Plus, you get a chance to revive Constantine in the new Universe since he leads JLD anyway.

  7. If they change their mind, Asa Butterfield for Billy Batson.

  8. I think it could work as a standalone franchise but not in the MOS universe. It would definitely have to be it’s own thing.

    • Why not? Marvel are doing it, why can’t DC? It’s not a true universe if they don’t somehow fit magic into it and miss out on a whole bunch of characters.

      • That’s true, marvel is doing it but it seems DC has intentionally set this somewhat “grounded” tone. Seems like it would be difficult to continue that direction in the context of magical transformations. But then again, superman is known to be vulnerable to magic so maybe they could play on that…who knows. they’d really have to take the time to flesh it out and not make it “superman” but with a little boy.

        • I think that would be a good way to make superman feel even more human by showing one of his vulnerabilites and that would be a great way to show off Wonder Woman kicking some magical butt with a funny one-liner.

        • Marvel also has a grounded tone, it’s just that they know they do comedy and light-hearted fun best so that’s what they bring to the table. WB could bring magic into it if they find a way into that aspect, it just takes creativity to bring it into a grounded world.

        • Wonder Woman is a Magical character and she’s in there, not that big a leap.

          • Very true. I’m curious to see how it all pans out!

        • I agree with you, but let’s take this one step at a time. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what this new universe offers from the outset. Magic is something I think can wait. We won’t even get the full story of Wonder Womans’ magic until another year or two from now, (I hope,) and with a character so similar to the mainstream public as Superman like Shazam, this is something you wanna split maybe five to ten years down the line, while slowly incorporating magic into the universe as is.

          Wonder Woman as well as Aquaman (who’ll likely get a spot down the line, if not before he’ll show up in the actual JL film,) both use magic, and that’s one thing that will help Aquaman in the long run, erase his current identity of mediocrity to the mainstream public. I think he’ll be the main magic guy for awhile, (especially if he ends up with a hard-water hand,) and later on, bring in Billy. Ironically enough, Shazam already replaces him in the War movie coming up.

    • Punisher Warzone is not a sequel to the Thomas Jane Punisher movie.

    • Except Punisher: War Zone was a reboot that didn’t do too well amongst Punisher fans and Watchmen was ok at best and dragged on for far too long.

      • Best comic book movies IMO as they looked like comic book characters and stayed
        as close to the comic (as possible)
        01. The Watchmen
        02. V For Vendetta
        03. The Crow
        04. Mystery Men
        05. Punisher: War Zone

        • You’re trolling right? You have to be…. Seriously….

    • Warzone was freaking horrible…………

      • Exactly but it was close to the comic book. Raimi Spider-Man 1 and 2 were OK (a lot better than Punisher: War Zone) but I deduct a lot of points from varying too much from the comic.

  9. Didn’t they already do one with Shaquille O’Neal.

    • That was Kazam, not Shazam.

  10. They did do that DTV animated Shazam movie, that for some reason they felt the need to shoehorn Superman into.

  11. What about Black Adam?

  12. I really like the magic side of DC some of my favorite characters are magic such as Zatanna, and John Constantine. I am hoping that Warner Bros. likes the work Guillermo Del Toro has been doing on his draft of JLD and we get a connected movie, it doesn’t have to be heavily connected but we need to know they are. I have always wanted Zatanna to have an appearance in a Batman movie or when Batman is being BA around Gotham he walks past a theater with a Zatanna poster, but i’d prefer for her to work with Batman. I also really like Captain Marvel and his whole “family” and also Black Adam and I want to see Isis on the big screen. I think they could do a version of Superman/Shazam: The Return of Black Adam just base it on that but add some good stuff setting up future heroes and villains and introducing magic at the same time. I also want to see Circe appear in a Wonder Woman feature of some sort or at least be apart of a super-powered villains team led by Lex Luthor or Vandal Savage. SO many possibilites for the universe at this point!

    • Who’d you consider a more worthy Wonder Woman foe in a JLA context – Circe or Cheetah? I have to admit I’m not familiar with the former. What would make her a promising antagonist in your opinion?

      • But in a JLA context I think that Cheetah is a better pick for a villain. Circe is a really “out there” character so she would need some serious explaining or the introduction of magic.

      • I don’t know what makes them promising necessarily other than they are both just so BA, Circe is super powerful and her magic can introduce all types of cool things into the DCCU. Cheetah would make more sense in this “grounded” universe they are setting up because her origin is more realistic and less mythological. Cheetah also is a more Hand-to-Hand villain so I think that she would give WW a run for her money and some great fights on the big screen.

  13. They could introduce him with Guillermo Del Toro’s Justice League Dark film!

  14. Oh no, you mean the guy who brought us Tommy Boy and the Nutty Professor 2 won’t be able to make us a Shazam movie? Gee wiz, I’m super bummed now.

    • This comment me laugh lol. But yeah, I’d much rather have no Shazam film than one directed by Peter Segel. I don’t think he’s a very good director at all.

    • I love Tommy Boy.

      • I enjoy Tommy Boy as well Dazz, but as a movie I put on when I’m hammered and am as easily amused as Peter Griffin, not as a directorial triumph.

    • Still a better director than Zack Snyder.

      • Nah, I thought Dawn of the Dead, 300, Watchmen and Man of Steel pretty good. Haven’t seen Legends of the Guardians and Sucker Punch though so I can’t judge those. Peter Segal on the other hand, I’ve disliked pretty much all of the ones I’ve seen from him except Anger Management (Adam Sandler before he became terrible aha). The Longest Yard could’ve been better but ended up being very mediocre. I really didn’t enjoy Tommy Boy or the Nutty Professor either.

  15. I dig the way the New 52 introduced Shazam aka Captain Marvel and would love to see him on the big screen in his own magical universe.

  16. I would love to see a Shazam movie, as long as he fought Black Adam. I don’t know why Shazam couldn’t fit into the shared universe, Wonder Woman is magical in a way and she is in it. And they are making a Justice league Dark which is mostly magical.

    But they need to focus on Aquaman, Flash, GL,Cyborg, and Martian Manhunter before they attempt Shazam IMO

    • Well all those characters will most likely be in “Batman Vs Superman” so it shouldn’t take them too long to get to Shazam.

      • LOL, good one! I hope it won’t turn out that way, though.

  17. Seriously people. What’s all this “grounded tone” BS got to do with being unable to introduce Captain Marvel? Man of Steel was about an ALIEN!!! HELLOOO???!! There’s a lot more evidence of mysticism out there NOW than aliens.

    The Justice League Dark intro for Shazam is a good idea. Having him emerge in response to Superman’s appearance is a good idea (trust me, a battle like the one in MOS would bring every super person out of the woodwork).

    Word to the DC folks: just think it through and get it done people.

  18. He can get introduced no problem. WB and their misdirection, good stuff. Much more interesting then Meh-vel “we’re going to tell you everything” Studios.

    Because DC is better.

  19. I like both Shazam and Black Adam and definitely wouldn’t complain if there was going to be a movie but I can’t help but imagine their fight scenes being not much different to Superman vs General Zod in Man of Steel.

  20. If harry potter, lord of the rings, and marvel can show some magic so can DC. Simple fact the current story for shazam in the new 52 was great…it could be expanded upon and made better and WORK it would just take some effort on DC’s part.

  21. Come on, gang. We’re not gonna get Unforgiven, its a comic book movie. Peter Segal is perfect for it. Black Adam…start the first half as BA’s rise, fall, and banishment, get really invested in this guy, learn to really hate him. Intercut with a homeless kid in Fawcett City and start pulling for the kid. Meets SHAZAM the great at a Fund Raiser carival funded by WAYNE, and is given the magic to change the lives of others. BA’S banishment finishes out as he rockets past OA–past the Guardians of the Universe–and right to Earth, drawn to Billy like a moth to flame. Reporters from the Planet and GBS are in Fawcett city covering the fight, and Capn Marvel’s efforts to protect the mortals caught in the crossfire. End with Captain Marvel getting approached by Maxwell Lord about this little thing he’s putting together… /end fanboy jiz

  22. Im not that big a dc fan but I’ve always thought Shazam was cool I certainly think a movie of him would be fun so I really posit happens in m life time :)

  23. yeah, because magic films with kids do so badly at the box office.

  24. Just do it, thats how you do it.
    Get the right director
    Have a comic creative consultant
    Get some writers
    Bam you have your film
    geez do I have to run hollywood again.

  25. Easily rectified; they could use Shazam in lieu of Bizarro Superman. Shazam would be genetically engineered to be a clone of superman with some variations in abilities.

    • no.
      no no no
      I can hear fans screaming just thinking about that.

    • That would do worse than a Howard the Duck dark tone movie….

  26. Also what most people now dont know is shazam became more popular than supes and dc sued the owners until time passed and they just bought him.

  27. !! SHAZAM !!

  28. If he’s different enough to put side-by-side on games like Injustice or Mortal Combat vs. DC, then they could also make a movie. If they take inspiration from his moves on those games, they could distinguish him from Superman.