Director David F. Sandberg’s journey of bringing The World’s Mightiest Mortal to the big screen begins with pre-production, and what better starting point than a comic strip?
The Shazam! filmmaker recently released on Twitter a homemade comic strip of Billy Batson/Shazam confronting Sandberg himself, using his online moniker Ponysmasher. He then reveals he, too, has a magic word – a Swedish term meaning “ass butter” – and upon saying it changes into a disgusting creature before the hero. With coarse language, Shazam leaves, and the strip ends with a panel encouraging readers to buy War Bonds.
This brand of humor is the director’s staple with fans, as David has made similar satirical tweets at his direction for the film, such as Shazam’s costume and a growing tower of Coke Zero cans.
Created during the Golden Age of Comics by C.C. Beck, Shazam! tells the story of orphaned Billy Batson, whose inner spark of good makes him worthy to inherit the abilities of the ancient wizard, Shazam. By saying the old Wizard’s name – an acronym for the Greek mythological figures Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury – a magical bolt of lightning transforms Billy into a muscular costumed adult imbued with those figures’ abilities. Amongst the comical villains he’s gone up against, his main two arch-nemeses have been mad scientist Dr. Thaddeus Sivana and the Wizard’s first chosen champion, Black Adam.
This will be the hero’s official entry into the established DCEU, following the success of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and expanded this November by Snyder’s Justice League. Black Adam, however, will not be the main antagonist; producers are currently developing a Black Adam film treatment, the title role awarded to fan favorite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
For his origin movie, Sandberg is delving into multiple stories across the entire DC Comics history, from the Golden Age through to the New 52 treatment by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. As the summer began, he said that “I’m just taking it all in. Some of those really old ones are quite fun, when he’s like fighting Hitler and stuff like that. He’s been around since the [1940s], for like as long as Superman. So there’s a lot to read.”
Currently, the search is on for who will play the orphaned young Billy, and his adult alter-ego. Rumors have circulated that both WWE Superstar John Cena and actor Joshua Sasse are both contenders for Shazam.
Fans can look for Billy Batson to call down the thunder on the film’s current April 15, 2019 release date.