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Who Is Dr. Sivana? Shazam's Villain Explained

Mark Strong as Dr Sivana in Shazam

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Shazam!

Here's everything you need to know about the Shazam! movie villain, Dr. Sivana. While the original Captain Marvel has reemerged into the public consciousness in a big way in anticipation of his new superhero movie, his nemesis, Dr. Sivana, isn't nearly as well regarded or well remembered. Despite The Big Red Cheese being one of the most recognizable superheroes in pop-culture history, few recall his arch-enemy. This in spite of Dr. Sivana having appeared in most of the original Captain Marvel comics!

While he was once the quintessential comic book mad scientist, Dr. Sivana has never been quite as famous (or infamous) as he was during the golden years of Shazam before a 1953 lawsuit by DC Comics forced Fawcett Comics to cease publishing Captain Marvel, as they convinced a court that he was a rip-off of Superman. Ironically, a case once could have been made that Lex Luthor was a rip-off of Dr. Sivana; both were bitter, bald super-geniuses who used science to fight seemingly invincible superheroes, but Dr. Sivana first appeared in the comics several months before Superman's arch-enemy. Both villains have been rewritten into more unique forms since then, with Luthor now being better known as a big business tycoon and Dr. Sivana now seeking magical powers rather than trying to prove his science superior to Shazam's magic.

Related: Who Are The Shazam Family? DC’s New Movie Team Explained

With a series of revamps having twisted the character's history around to match his insane yet brilliant mind, it's hard to know what to make of Dr. Sivana in Shazam! Indeed, early reports suggest that he's been changed once again for the sake of the new film. But was he changed?

Last updated: April 4, 2019

Dr. Sivana Is The Main Shazam Movie Villain

Shazam Faces Off With Dr. Sivana Zachary Levi Mark Strong

Dr. Sivana is the main villain in the Shazam! movie, and he always was going to be, despite reports to the contrary. Director David F. Sandberg previously mentioned to Screen Rant that Sivana was always meant to be Shazam!'s villain. We also know that his backstory, much like the rest of Shazam, is primarily based upon the 2013 revamp of the character, which was written by Geoff Johns with art by Gary Frank. However, the character was changed a tad bit to be more of a physical threat than the classic Dr. Sivana, who preferred brains over brawn.

In the Shazam! movie, Dr. Sivana is played by British actor Mark Strong. A familiar face recognizable for a number of villainous roles on television and in film, Strong claims to be drawn to playing antagonists and trying to make them into full, relatable characters. A frequent collaborator of directors Ridley Scott and Guy Ritchie, he is perhaps best known for his roles as cult leader Lord Blackwood in the 2008 Sherlock Holmes movie, crime-boss Frank D'Amico in Kick-Ass, Sinestro in the 2011 Green Lantern movie, and Merlin in the Kingsman franchise. He also served as the narrator for the single-player portion of the war game Battlefield V. And, as you can see, he's a spitting image for the comic Sivana.

Related: Shazam's Origin Story, Powers & Movie Changes Explained

Dr. Sivana's Powers In The Shazam Movie

The biggest change to Dr. Sivana in the transition from comic book to feature film is that he will have far more physical power than he usually did in the comics. Aside from being a genius level intellect and a brilliant inventor in the comics, Dr. Sivana also has the power to see the presence of magical auras with his left eye - an ability that was granted to him in the most recent revamp of the character in the comics. In the Shazam! movie, however, Dr. Sivana, while still quite intelligent, obtained his superpowers by becoming a host for the Seven Deadly Sins. He succumbed to their deceit and can harness their powers while they are inside him. That's what ultimately becomes his downfall when Shazam tricks the Sins into leaving Sivana's body, thus making him vulnerable.

Page 2 of 2: Other Villains In The Shazam! Movie

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Key Release Dates
  • Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
  • Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
  • Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
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