This week, EW revealed plot details that fans have been waiting for about the first cinematic adventure of The World’s Mightiest Mortal, SHAZAM, plus a new official photo (seen above).
Up until now, the plot to Shazam! – starring Zachary Levi as the title character and Asher Angel as his adolescent alter-ego, Billy Batson – has been kept close to the chest by director David F. Sandberg. Now EW has finally released details that recent comic fans will find familiar:
In the film, Billy is assigned to a new foster home where he befriends comic book superfan Freddy. One day, Billy’s subway ride is interrupted by a mysterious Wizard whose been searching for ages to find the right successor to inherit his powers. He reveals the teen’s been selected to gain an assortment of abilities, and all it takes is for Billy to say “SHAZAM!”
Based on these facts, it sounds as though the script follows the recent New 52 origin written by Geoff Johns and drawn by artist Gary Frank as a back-up story in Justice League. In that plot, Billy is placed in a foster home where Freddy Freeman – depicted in that shot and portrayed by Jack Dylan Grazer – is one of several kids under that particular roof. The officially released photo proves it, because in the rebooted origin, after Billy is transformed, he and Freddy illegally buy a six pack of beer. However, the subtle difference is that it’s Cola as opposed to beer, probably to make the scene less reckless for younger viewers.
Billy’s form as Shazam could be subliminally influenced by Freddy’s comic collection. The shortened cape, from a design perspective, harkens back to his original Captain Marvel incarnation from the 1940s, while the bodysuit is inspired by the New 52 reboot. It also distances the costume from Henry Cavill’s Superman’s full-length red cape. It’s been established that, in contrast with other darker-themed DC Universe films in recent years, Shazam! will be lighter in tone and connect with kids since its protagonist is a 13-year-old boy in an adult body.
This plot and photo are being released shortly before SDCC weekend, where it has been rumored that a teaser trailer will be revealed. Time will tell if that rumor proves accurate. Djimon Hounsou, meanwhile, has been confirmed in the role of the Wizard who chooses Billy as his successor to the power of Shazam. This is also a nod to the contemporary New 52 origin given that this incarnation is a man of color as opposed to a Caucasian elderly man with a long white beard.
Shazam! premieres in theaters April 5, 2019.