David F. Sandberg says Shazam! will be a significant departure from the established DC Extended Universe. Warner Bros. officially launched the DCEU last year with Zack Snyder's Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, a follow-up to Snyder's 2013 film, Man of Steel. The studio followed up Batman V Superman with David Ayer's Suicide Squad later that summer and then Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman earlier this year. In November, the world's finest heroes will unite for Snyder's Justice League before breaking into their own solo movies down the line.
The next DCEU movies on the docket are James Wan's Aquaman, releasing in December 2018, and Sandberg's Shazam! and Wonder Woman 2 releasing in 2019, with Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps still scheduled for 2020 releases. Up until recently, people not in the know were unsure if Shazam! -- which follows 10-year-old Billy Batson who transforms into the adult superhero Shazam (formerly known as Captain Marvel) upon exclaiming the word, "Shazam!" -- would make its planned 2019 release; that is until Sandberg officially boarded the project last month as the director.
Sandberg happens to be the latest horror director to make the jump to the superhero genre -- Wan and Doctor Strange's Scott Derrickson mainly being the others -- and yet that hasn't fazed him from making Shazam! more fun and lighthearted, at least compared to the rest of the DCEU. Here's what the director told the Toronto Sun about Shazam! while promoting his newest film, Annabelle: Creation:
"The big attraction for me with that character is the fact that every kid dreams of being Superman, right? I mean I certainly did, and (Billy Batson) is a kid that gets that chance. He gets to become the superhero. So, it’ll be big with superpowers in a way. In terms of what people can expect, I think this will be one of the more fun or lighthearted movies so far in the DC universe. It certainly will be a departure."
The DCEU has received its fair share of criticisms, some of which have been aimed at the universe's dreary tone, mainly directed towards Snyder's two films: Man of Steel and Batman V Superman. That's partially why audiences and critics alike have praised Wonder Woman for taking the shared universe in a different direction by injecting fun and humor into the DCEU. Although some people may take Sandberg's comments as a response to those criticisms, being one of the more lighthearted superhero movies is something that is to be expected with this particular story and character.
Aside from the film's tone, Sandberg's comments about Batson wanting to become Superman are interesting, especially for people who are familiar with the character. For those that don't know, Shazam was originally Fawcett Comics' Superman rip-off, though the character has since been acquired by DC Comics and incorporated into the DC Universe. Since the filmmaker has referred to Batson becoming a superhero as the "ultimate wish fulfillment," it makes sense that he would go the route of being more lighthearted, and that's something will certainly be interesting to see in the wake of the DCEU's harsh criticisms.
Source: Toronto Sun
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Cyborg (2020) release date: Apr 03, 2020
- Green Lantern Corps. (2020) release date: Jul 24, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020