SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains mild spoilers for Shazam! Proceed with caution.
With Shazam! about to hit screens, we’ve put some of your burning questions to the talent behind the latest entry into the DCEU. Thanks to Fandom’s DC communities who supplied the questions, we now know what would happen in the DC Extended Universe should Shazam and Batman ever meet, and who would win in a fight between Superman and Shazam. Among other things. You can watch what stars Zachary Levi and Mark Strong, director David Sandberg and producer Peter Safran had to say in the video above.
Star Zachary Levi, who plays teenage foster kid Billy Batson’s superhero alter ego Shazam in the film, gives an insight into what ‘Captain Sparklefingers’ would bring to the Justice League should his services be called upon.
“He’s comic relief,” says Levi. “I mean, he’s a 14-year-old that’s hanging out with a bunch of adults and really shouldn’t be hanging out with a bunch of adults – super adults — but he is anyway because some random wizard was like: ‘You’re the guy’, and he was like: ‘OK’.”
In the film, Billy gains superhero status when an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou) named Shazam passes on his powers, naming the teen his ‘worthy’ successor.
Shazam Vs Superman
Producer Peter Safran admits there’s a possibility that Shazam will indeed interact with the rest of the DCEU’s superheroes at some point in the future. If it happens, the young hero would certainly bring more to the table than just humour. Particularly since his power set is so similar to Superman’s that Levi refers to him as a “ripped-off” version of the Man of Steel.
“What I would want to see which is what I think a lot of the fans would like to see is Shazam and Superman fighting each other,” says Levi.
If Shazam went up against Superman, Levi at first confidently asserts that his own character would win. And then stops to think.
“According to the comics, we’re basically neck and neck, evenly matched,” he says. “Which I think is also kind of poetic in some ways, particularly considering I’m really just a ripped-off version of Superman. Thank you Fawcett comics. Superman, aside from being susceptible to Kryptonite, is also susceptible to magic. And I am magic.”
Safran concurs: “You know, [Shazam] could go up against Superman any day of the week. [It would] be an interesting fight.”
Mark Strong, on the other hand, who plays villain Dr Sivana in the film, is on the fence: “That’s a very good question because their powers are relatively equal.” Which suggests they’d make a good partnership, no?
Shazam + Superman
It’s a pairing that ultimately Levi wants to see come to pass on screen in a sequel. Shazam and Superman teaming up could be cinematic gold. But only after that epic showdown. After the super twosome figure out their differences, Levi says he’d like to see “Superman taking me under his wing and then teaching me a lot of stuff… and then we go fight other bad guys together; I think that would be pretty dope.”
Director David Sandberg agrees, and thinks that Superman would fulfill a big brother-type role to Billy.
“I mean, there have been a lot of great stories with that in comics and animation and stuff where he’s a mentor to Billy, which feels right,” he tells Fandom. “It feels like something I’d want to see at some point.”
Black Adam and Beyond
So which bad guys could we see Shazam cross paths with in a sequel?
“One day down the road, perhaps Black Adam. Feels like that would be appropriate,” says Safran. Dwayne Johnson is, of course, set to play Shazam villain Black Adam in his own standalone movie.
“The fight with Black Adam and Shazam I think would be [clicks tongue]…” says Levi.
But what, asks community member Darquehex, are the chances we’ll see another Shazam comic-book foe, Mr Banjo, in a sequel?
Director David Sandberg laughs and says, “Very slim.”
Mr Banjo is a member of Mister Mind‘s Monster Society of Evil, a group of supervillains, who worked for the Axis powers during World War II delivering secret messages via musical notes played on his banjo.
Mark Strong, meanwhile, teases a villainous team-up based on the post-credits scene in which we glimpse another Shazam villain from the comic books: “There could be a little hook-up between those two guys.”
Bumping Into Batman
So, what would be the first thing that Shazam did if he met Batman?
“I think he would do this with everybody [in the Justice League],” says Levi. “He would just be peppering them with questions, like ‘What is it like to be Batman? What is your car like? You wanna go drive your car? Where is your Batarang? What does that do?’ Like a 14-year-old. They’re all the coolest people in the world so all you want to do is ask them questions about how cool they are, you know?”
Sandberg says that the enthusiasm both Billy and his best friend/foster brother Freddy (charmingly played by Jack Dylan Grazer) have for the superheroes in their world is what makes Shazam! unique and fun.
“It’s that you see it from the perspective of normal people who are living in a world where superheroes do exist,” the director tells us. “So you have the newspaper articles, and the books that Freddy has, and that knowledge. It was fun to explore that version of the world where, of course, they have superhero toys just like us. It’s just they’re based on real people. That was also fun when we were creating the toy store in the movie, with all the toys in there. I was walking through it and they had Lex Luthor toys and things like that and I was like: ‘Oh, I don’t think they’d make toys of evil geniuses in this world, let’s just take that out and focus on the heroes.’”
The Shazam Family’s Powers
In the film – and this isn’t a spoiler if you’re familiar with the character and the comics but proceed with caution if you’re particularly sensitive — we get to see the Shazam family attain and use their powers. But do their powers match the comic books, in that the power is diluted depending on how many family members transform?
Sandberg says, “My own personal logic is that they basically get the same powers. I mean, that it doesn’t get too diluted but they all have their specialties. Like Darla is the fastest of them, Pedro is the strongest of them, Eugene is the best with the lightning… but the way I see it is that is doesn’t really dilute it.”
Here’s looking forward to more from the Shazam family in the future.
Shazam! hits screens in Australia on April 4, and the US and UK on April 5.