Captain Marvel, now known as Shazam, is one of the oldest superhero characters, having been created in 1939 by Bill Parker and C. C. Beck.
Despite being created nearly 80 years ago, the character is a perpetual child – Shazam’s civilian identity is a young boy named Billy Batson, and by speaking the magic word “SHAZAM” (an acronym of Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury), Billy transforms into a grown-up superhero.
Shazam was originally created for Fawcett Comics, and the character was acquired by DC in 1972.
Marvel Comics has their own character named ‘Captain Marvel’, and due to the copyright conflict, DC’s Captain Marvel books were published under the title ‘Shazam’, leading to some confusion.
During the 2011 DC relaunch, the character was officially renamed ‘Shazam’.
The character is finally headed to the big screen, and will be played by Zachary Levi.
Levi is best known for playing the title role in the NBC action spy comedy series Chuck, and has played the Marvel character Fandral in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok.
Levi also voiced Flynn Rider in Disney’s Tangled, and has sang and danced on the Broadway stage.
Levi was reportedly in the running to play Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy and Superman in Man of Steel, and has earlier said he would like to play the Flash.
Fan art by bosslogic
Levi took to Instagram to confirm his casting, posting a piece of fan art by bosslogic depicting what he might look like as Shazam.
Levi captioned the photo with "Honored and greatly humbled to be a part of the #dcuniverse by bringing the original Captain Marvel to life.”
Levi expressed his gratitude for the opportunity and for the love and support shown by his fans.
Pre-empting criticisms that he’s not muscular enough to portray the superhero, Levi quipped "Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the gym for the rest of forever."
WWE star John Cena was tipped as a contender for the role, and Cena met with the film’s director.
Other actors whom Levi beat out for the part include Derek Theler (Baby Daddy, the upcoming Marvel’s New Warriors), Zane Holtz (From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series), Billy Magnussen (Bridge of Spies) and Jake McDorman (Limitless).
Zachary Levi as Fandral in Thor: The Dark World
The Shazam! film is being directed by David F. Sanberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) from a screenplay by Darren Lemke (Goosebumps, Jack the Giant Slayer, Shrek Forever After) and Henry Gayden (Earth to Echo).
The movie is being developed concurrently with a film focusing on Shazam’s arch-nemesis Black Adam, who will be portrayed by Dwayne Johnson.