Zachary Levi has posted a first look at his hero's costume in Shazam!, and it seems to confirm Superman's influence on the hero. We already knew the suit had visible similarities to Shazam's costume in Justice League War, with the shape and color of the lightning bolt resembling the hero's more recent outfits. However, one connection comes from a different character altogether.
Director David F. Sandberg has long stressed the influence of Justice League War on Shazam's design, but had held back on specifics. "Once pics have been released I can tell you more about where the inspirations came from," he explained, "and why certain choices were made." Levi's post on social media clearly shows him standing in front of a promotional poster, so we can assume more official images are on the way, likely followed by Sandberg's in-depth explanation. One element does stand out straight away, though, and it's a subtle detail that ties the narrative threads of the DCEU together. This costume is clearly evocative of Superman's.
One element does stand out straight away, though, and it's a subtle detail that ties the narrative threads of the DCEU together. This costume is clearly evocative of Superman's. When set photos leaked online showing the Shazam costume, there was something of a backlash. Aesthetically, the costume seemed very different to the modernized takes seen in Man of Steel or Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It looked like a traditional spandex superhero costume, of the type seen in Superman: The Movie or even Batman '66. While that's appropriate for Shazam!, which will take a more comedic approach to the superhero genre than we've previously seen in the DCEU, some fans felt that it jarred with the universe as a whole.
This up-close look suggests there won't be a problem, though. There is indeed an aesthetic link between Shazam! and the rest of the DCEU, it's just a more subtle one - and it was never going to be revealed through leaked set photos. Look closely at the costume, and you'll see a detailed embossing pattern, one that's clearly reminiscent of the Kryptonian script on Henry Cavill's costume in Man of Steel. It's a nice callback, suggesting that Billy Batson's heroism may actually be inspired by Superman's.
Zack Snyder's Man of Steel and Batman v Superman presented Superman in a conflicted light, suggesting that the world was divided over whether to love him or fear him. His sacrificial death evidently left a deep impression on the world, as Justice League presented the Last Son as a universal symbol of hope, desperately missed by the entire world. It would Shazam! is exploring that idea, with the young Billy Batson apparently choosing to be a hero because of Superman's example. That would neatly continue the plot threads established by Justice League.
There are actually some theories that Billy Batson has already made his DCEU debut; that he was the child "interviewing" Superman in Justice League. Meanwhile, there are strong rumors that Henry Cavill may actually cameo in Shazam!, perhaps showing how Superman left such an impression on Billy, or even giving the Man of Steel an opportunity to give the hero he's inspired a thumbs up. Whether Superman appears in Shazam! or not, this up-close look at the costume does suggest the shadow of the Man of Steel will loom large over Billy Batson's DCEU debut.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020