Get ready to meet DC’s newest silver-screen superhero.
Zachary Levi has just been set to lead Shazam!, the next entry in the DC cinematic universe.
Mashable has confirmed the news, which was first broken by The Hollywood Reporter. The trade reports that Levi beat out contenders like John Cena and Jake McDorman to clinch the role.
Shazam! centers on a boy named Billy Batson, who is gifted with the ability to transform into a grown-up superhero by uttering the word “shazam.” Levi will play the adult version of the character.
Worth noting: This is a separate project from the Black Adam movie currently being developed for Dwayne Johnson, even though the characters are frequently connected in the comics.
David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) is set to direct the Shazam! film. Shooting will begin in February 2018. While no release date has officially been announced, we’re guessing it’ll slide into one of the 2019 slots that Warner Bros. already has set aside for its DC titles.
Ironically, the news comes just as Levi prepares to return to cinemas in another superhero movie, this one from DC competitor Marvel – he reprises the role of Fandral in next month’s Thor: Ragnarok.
Fun fact: In DC Comics canon, the adult version of Batson’s hero was previously known as Captain Marvel, who has been in circulation since 1939. Since DC’s competitor, Marvel, is currently developing an MCU movie around a character that they also named Captain Marvel (aka Carol Danvers), it seems likely that DC will ditch that aspect of Batson’s history and lean into “Shazam” instead — they officially renamed the character in 2011.