Warning: SPOILERS for Shazam!
Here's every (bad) codename Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer) calls the superhero played by Zachary Levi in Shazam! Director David F. Sandberg's DCEU film has a lot of fun with what it's like for 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel) to unexpectedly receive the magical powers of an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou) and become a mighty superhero, but one of Billy's challenges is coming up with a worthy superhero name.
In the comics, Shazam has gone by numerous names. When he was created in 1940, the superhero was first called "Captain Thunder" before it was changed to "Captain Marvelous" and then shortened to Captain Marvel - and yes, the hero known today as Shazam was the original Captain Marvel decades before Marvel Comics' Captain Marvel adopted the name. The original Captain Marvel was also nicknamed "The Big Red Cheese".
When DC Comics acquired the rights to Shazam decades later, they nicknamed the hero "The World's Mightiest Mortal" to help differentiate him from Superman. When he was rebooted by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank in 2012, the superhero's name was officially changed to Shazam. Amusingly, the Shazam! movie has its version of fun with the confusing ordeal over what to call the red-clad superhero.
After he gets his powers, Billy naturally turns to Freddy, the only person he knows who's an expert on superheroes - Freddy collects Justice League merch and is a true fanboy. Along with staging multiple hilarious tests of Billy's powers, which he then uploaded onto YouTube, it became Freddy's mission to come up with Billy's superhero name. At one point, Billy lamented that he didn't get to choose his costume or his superpowers, but he also never quite settles on a memorable codename. For his part, Freddy turns out to be a great sidekick and even serves as Billy's moral compass, but Freddy simply never comes up with a catchy codename for Billy - not that he didn't try.
Freddy ends up leaning into pure silliness when trying to give Billy a codename and no self-respecting superhero would actually go by most of Freddy's name suggestions. Meanwhile, Shazam! winks at how these names aren't just what a kid would dream up, but the movie is also subliminally conscious that the best supernames are already taken, not just by the superheroes that already exist in the DCEU but also by whatever characters exist in the fiction of their world (Captain America, for example). While the Wizard's Champion is called just that by his nemesis Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong), here are the hilariously awful names Freddy came up with:
- Captain Sparklefingers
- Mr. Philadelphia
- Power Boy
- ZAP-tain America
- Red Cyclone
- Maximum Voltage
- Sir Zaps-A-Lot
- Human Powerstorm
Most of Freddy's ideas are inspired by the glowing lightning bolt on Shazam's chest and his electricity. Red Cyclone is one of the primary names Freddy used when he uploaded the YouTube clips of their various tests of Shazam's powers; it's the codename the kids at Fawcett High School know Shazam as and it's honestly the pick of the litter. Meanwhile, Freddy rattled off some of the really bad names like Sir Zaps-A-Lot stream-of-consciousness-style while he panicked in front of the school bullies, and Captain Sparklefingers is a subtle joke about Captain Marvel. To others in Philadelphia, however, Shazam is generally known as that "Superhero Guy".
Strangely, Shazam is never referred to by other of his comic book nicknames, "The Big Red Cheese" or "The World's Mightiest Mortal". Meanwhile, one of the best jokes in Shazam! is when he asks the rest of the kids in his group home to hold onto the Wizard's magical staff and, "Say my name!" Naturally, Mary (Grace Fulton), Darla (Faithe Herman), Eugene (Ian Chen), Pedro (Jovan Armand), Freddy all say "BILLY!" And now that Billy has been joined by the Shazam Family, it seems like all of them will continue to struggle with what superhero names they'll be known by as well.
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