‘Shazam!’ Director Reveals New Details About Villain

by Joshua Raynor
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New details regarding Mark Strong’s villainous Doctor Sivana in Shazam! have emerged. There’s been an expectation for several months that Shazam! would be unlike any other recent DC movie, thanks to its tone. The first trailer that debuted at San Diego Comic-Con confirmed the film’s lighter, comedic style, and has made a big impression so far. Zachary Levi looks ready to silence any doubters, as he plays the superhero form of 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel).

What the trailer was light on, though, was Shazam!’s villain. That’s to be expected from a teaser trailer for a movie that’s still nine months away from hitting theaters, but still, fans were merely given brief glimpses at Sivana. Those who are familiar with the character in DC’s comics already have a head start in understanding who Shazam’s first foe will be, but some surprises may be in store.

EW recently spoke with Shazam! director David F. Sandberg about Doctor Sivana. He revealed to them that Sivana was approached by The Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) years ago, as a possible candidate to take on the powers enjoyed by Shazam. Sivana was not chosen, and the Wizard instead waited until finding Batson to pass on his mantle. However, that rejection drove Sivana to devote his life to figuring out how to obtain powers. He’ll have some in Shazam!, but Sandberg is being coy about how he receives them and what they are.

Mark Strong loves being a bad guy. And it’s not just him, really, it’s … something else … that lent him his powers … he can do some things that Shazam can’t. The danger in some films is the bad guy has the same powers as the good guy. [Sivana] has an extra thing, extra dynamic, that takes care of that.

Everything that’s been seen from Shazam! so far shows the incredible influence the New 52 version of the character is having on the film. It looks to be telling the story comic readers would expect, and that could be the explanation behind the “extra thing” that is powering Sivana. In The New 52 reboot, Sivana is gifted powers from Mister Mind, a giant Venusian worm that can speak telepathically. Considering all the other cues Shazam! is taking from this version of the main characters, it wouldn’t be surprising if they did a similar adaptation with Sivana.

If it isn’t Mister Mind that helps Sivana, there’s another direction Shazam! could go. Prior to his partnership with Mister Mind, Sivana is obsessed with the possibility of magic. He finds the tomb of Black Adam, and is exposed to magical light that gives him the ability to see magic. If the movie alters this slightly to actually have Sivana gain certain abilities from Black Adam, it’d make him a greater opponent for Shazam. The trailer did show his strength, as he stopped Shazam’s mighty punch without any trouble. Connecting Sivana to Black Adam in any way immediately opens the door for Dwayne Johnson to have a role in the already planned sequels, since he says he isn’t going to cameo in the first film. Whether it’s Mister Mind, Black Adam, or something else, there’s still a lot left to learn about Shazam!‘s villain.

Shazam! is set to hit theaters on April 5, 2019.


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