Djimon Hounsou is now a member of both the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the DC Extended Universe, thanks to his newly-revealed role as The Wizard in DC's Shazam! movie. The Oscar-nominated star of historical dramas like Amistad and Gladiator joined the MCU in 2014, when he played Korath the Pursuer (insert obligatory "Who?" joke here) in the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie. As fate would have it, Hounsou will return as Korath in next March's Captain Marvel movie, a month before he joins the DCEU for David F. Sandberg's magical superhero action/comedy.
This may come as confusing news to those who have been closely following developments on Shazam! for the past year. This Is Us and Luke Cage actor Ron Cephas Jones was originally lined up to play the 3,000 year old magic-wielder who gifts young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) with his super-powers in Sandberg's film. However, nearly two months after Shazam! wrapped production, it has come to light that Jones actually passed on the role.
According to EW, Hounsou stepped in to play the powerful sorcerer after a scheduling issue prevented Jones from signing on for Shazam! as planned. This isn't the actor's first DC film role either. He previously portrayed Papa Midnite in the 2005 Constantine movie starring Keanu Reeves, some eight years before Zack Snyder's Superman reboot Man of Steel laid the foundation for the DCEU. In more recent years, Hounsou has played one-off villains in the Fast & Furious and How to Train Your Dragon franchises, in addition to roles in the modern re-imaginings of the Tarzan and King Arthur movies.
In the comics, The Wizard has been battling evil since the days of Ancient Egypt and chooses Billy as his successor, thus giving him the ability to become a Superman-esque superhero by shouting out his name ("Shazam!"). In retrospect, Hounsou is a no-brainer pick to play the character, who serves as the no-nonsense mentor to an excitable young boy who can suddenly transform into a muscle-bound Zachary Levi in Sandberg's movie. In fact, it's not that far off from the gruff mentor role that Hounsou played last year in Guy Ritchie's King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (sans the magical powers).
Fans might even get their first look at Hounsou as The Wizard as early as next week. The Shazam! trailer is rumored to debut during the Warner Bros. Hall H panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, July 21, along with the first trailer for director James Wan's Aquaman. Failing that, perhaps WB will release a first look photo at Hounsou in the other Captain Marvel movie coming out next year.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 2 (2019) release date: Nov 01, 2019