Shazam! star Zachary Levi doesn’t seem sure he’ll definitely get to face Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam on screen. “Oh man, I hope so! I don’t have a crystal ball,” was the Levi’s response when we asked if the Fast & Furious star might feature in future Shazam! sequels.
Talking to Yahoo Movies UK ahead of the launch of his own DC standalone movie on Friday, the former Chuck star says that early drafts of Shazam! had the title character facing off against his comic book nemesis – due to be played by The Rock who acts as Executive Producer on the film – but the idea was dropped to streamline the plot.
Levi, 38, hopes The Rock’s Black Adam will “maybe” happen, but he looks forward to representing the iconic comic book showdown on screen, should it get greenlit.
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“Dwayne [Johnson], many years ago now, was announced that he was going to be Black Adam and they were developing the script of Shazam! with the character of Black Adam in it, explains Levi.
“But over those years of developing it they realised there’s not enough time to tell two full origin stories, which is what they would have to do, particularly if it’s The Rock playing the character.”
Shazam!, in cinemas Friday, is the origin story of how young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) gains the superhuman power of six ancient gods, by saying magic word “Shazam” which turns him into an adult-aged caped hero – played with goofy charm by Zachary Levi. Black Adam, first introduced in the comics in 1945, is a supervillain and Shazam’s arch-nemesis, but he’s also often portrayed as an anti-hero.
“In a very wise choice, everyone was like ‘let’s just split them’, and then Black Adam can maybe have a standalone and have his own origin,” Levi goes on.
“Which would be cool for a lot of reasons, not least of which that supervillains don’t really get their own standalone. They’re usually fighting the good guys in their movies.
“So yeah, if we ever get down to it, I would love that. I would love to fight Black Adam. That seems to be the iconic fight.”
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was first attached to play DC’s Black Adam in September 2014, when it was thought the wrestler-turned-actor would appear opposite Shazam. Black Adam was originally portrayed as Shazam’s corrupted predecessor from ancient Egypt. In more recent years he’s grown more prominent in the DC comics, becoming an anti-hero out to clear his name, and is now one of DC’s most important characters.
In 2017 it was revealed that The Rock’s DC film would be a standalone film in its own right, and the superstar took to social media to celebrate, calling Black Adam “the most ruthless villain/anti-hero of all time”.
Since then, things have been quiet on the Black Adam front, and The Rock’s slate continues to get busier and busier. Presumably should Shazam! be the monster-sized hit many are predicting – and it should be, it’s a total blast – then surely the Black Adam spin-off will get fast-tracked at Warner Bros.
Before that epic showdown happens, we’re already looking ahead to Shazam joining the wider DC universe (something that’s hinted at in the film) as is the film’s villain Mark Strong.
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The British actor, who plays Dr. Thaddeus Sivana in Shazam!, thinks the fun-loving hero will bring a bit of levity to the gloomy DCEU.
“It would be a no-brainer to have a character who’s as light and funny as this [joining the Justice League]… can you imagine?,” smiles Strong.
“You’ve got the Justice League, doing all the things they do, and in the middle of it, is this kid, basically marvelling at what they’re doing, not really understanding the powers he has?”
“The idea that you have a 14-year-old boy with all of those powers in the middle of that lot… c’mon, it’s a no brainer!”
Shazam! flies into cinemas nationwide on Friday, 5 April.