The DC Extended Universe is beginning to step away from the obvious superheroic adaptations, and are bringing in some classic, if less well-known, characters. Captain Marvel - sorry, Shazam! will be heading to our screens in 2019, and although casting is underway for the two different roles that make up the character, we're still waiting for a proper announcement. Pre-production has already started on the film, with David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) taking the reins of the DCEU movie. For those not in the know, Billy Batson is a 12 year-old-boy who transforms into a superhero when uttering the word "Shazam!" Although he was originally called Captain Marvel, his name was changed after a trademark dispute with Marvel Comics' own Captain Marvel.
With a new film adaptation of the character comes a whole host of questions - who'll play the two roles of Billy and Shazam? How will the DCEU deal with the existence of magic? Who will Shazam fight now that Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam won't appear? Well, it seems like some audition tapes may have some of the answers we're looking for. Unfortunately, the casting agency have put a password over the footage, presumably to cover up any potential spoilers that the lines spoken by the kids gave away. Luckily, we were able to see the footage and give you the details of what Shazam! may be including.
Billy Batson Meeting The Wizard
So the age of the kids auditioning were around the same age as Billy in the comics. The film makers are clearly trying to stay as faithful to the origin as possible. And with the news that David F. Sandberg wants to make Shazam! as radically different from the rest of the DCEU, he's going to do so by making Billy's film lighter in tone. This shone through the footage during a conversation with the Wizard that gives Billy his powers. The exchange between the two was quite funny, and with the lack of humor being something fans complained about during Batman v Superman it's no surprise they're going to try fill Shazam! with jokes. Whether he'll have a different personality as Shazam! and as Billy has yet to be revealed, but if they want to go down the light hearted route, keeping Billy's personality with the hero would allow for some great dialogue.
His Biological Mother
One of the scenes an actor was reading for was a tragic moment between Shazam and Billy Batson's biological mother, with her being unable to recognize her son in his current form. In the comics, Billy is often shown as separated from his family, or living on the streets. It'll be interesting to see which backstory they go with for the live action film. If they're trying to be as faithful as possible to the source material, then he'll be a homeless newsboy. It would be a great way of tying into the DCEU if he was selling papers for a certain publication called "The Daily Planet." Does anybody we know work there?
The first thing to get across is that the villain mentioned in the auditions wasn't Dwayne Johnson's Black Adam. Geoff Johns has already confirmed that the anti-hero won't be appearing in the film. That's not to say that he couldn't appear in a third act twist - but for now, we're going to be getting the Seven Deadly Sins.
Pride, Envy, Greed, Anger, Sloth, Gluttony and Lust are a group of demons that are housed in the Rock of Eternity, and they mainly cause trouble during a full moon. Could the inclusion of demons be a backdoor introduction to the Justice League Dark movie that's in production?
We've all seen the comedy relief that a superhero's best friend can bring. Just look at how Ned made an impression on audiences in Spider-Man: Homecoming. Peter's "guy in the chair" was a scene stealer and it's quite possible that DC wants to get their own version of the best friend relationship.
The audition tapes name the friend Carlos. He'll know that Billy Batson is a superhero, and will likely provide advice and maybe a moral compass for the teenager. Unfortunately, there aren't any huge comic book characters related to Shazam! called Carlos. If Carlos is a Hispanic teenager, it's possible that the name could be a stand-in for Pedro Peña, a member of the Shazam! family introduced during the Flashpoint storyline. Just remember, a Flashpoint movie is coming...
The final piece of information we've got for you teases the classic red, white and lightening bolt costume. The lines in the tape show someone making fun of the costume as Billy defends it. To be fair, the costume's chest is covered with a huge lightening bolt - if the film didn't make at least one joke about the vibrant look we'd be surprised. That's not to say it couldn't look intimidating. Just take a look at the costume from the first Injustice game, which showed the bolt filled with actual lightening. That's probably the best way to go.
We're still a way off from getting confirmation of any actors, let alone getting our first look at the costume. But there are several actors that are interested in the role at the moment. Currently there are several frontrunners, John Cena and Joshua Sasse being the most prominent. In a future film, both wrestling fans and DC fans would be given a treat if John Cena and Dwayne Johnson were given the opportunity to face each other down as superheroes. Also, just think of the publicity opportunities! Wrestling matches in the suits are just one idea we've come up with... (You're welcome, DCEU PR department). The role has attracted attention from all over the DC Universe. Smallville alumni Alan Ritchson has expressed interest in portraying the hero, and so has Arrow's Parker Young.
Shazam! will be making his way to theatres in 2019, with production going ahead in early 2018. We should expect a series of casting announcements soon for Billy, Carlos, the Wizard and maybe even the Seven Deadly Sins. Shazam! will be going by the working title Franklin when it begins filming in Toronto next year.