IT’S (not) JOHN CENA!
We finally know who will play the titular hero in one of DC’s upcoming films. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed Zachary Levi will star as Shazam! in the DC Extended Universe.
Levi is best known for his role in Chuck, the beloved NBC spy-comedy series, Fandral in the Thor sequels, and the voice of Flynn Rider in Disney’s Tangled.
Shazam! is the alter ego of Billy Batson, a boy who can magically transform into the powerful hero by shouting the word “SHAZAM.” The character was named Captain Marvel for decades, but DC officially changed the character’s name with The New 52 in 2011 to avoid copyright issues with Marvel’s character. Shazam! has nearly identical powers to Superman (with magic instead being the source of this power), an important factoid to bring up since Shazam! was created by a rival comics publisher, and this similarity eventually led to DC obtaining the rights to this character.
Since this confirmation, Levi has expressed excitement and gratitude for the role of Shazam!, voiced through a post on his Instagram.
“Honored and greatly humbled to be a part of the #dcuniverse by bringing the original Captain Marvel to life. I am beside myself with gratitude, not only for this opportunity, but also the incredible outpouring of love and support from so many of you out there in the world. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the gym for the rest of forever.”
Levi isn’t kidding. Shazam! is traditionally a character whose physique is rival to Superman, if not even more jacked. Though not super slim, Levi certainly isn’t Henry Cavill-sized, and he’s already been hitting the gym hard, courtesy of his buddy on Twitter.
— Eric Blackmon (@EricBlackmon) October 31, 2017
Now let’s talk about John Cena. Long-rumored for the role and campaigned by fans, the famous wrestler was thought by many (myself included) to be a shoe-in for Shazam! Specifically, Cena is obviously physically imposing, but also has the child-like qualities and fun personality needed for the role. However, Levi can also exude the goofiness to pull off a kid-becoming-an-adult superhero, so we can’t be too upset.
The film itself is currently in preproduction, and will be directed by Lights Out and Annabelle:Creation helmer David F. Sandberg.
Shazam! hits theaters on April 5, 2019.