Shazam! will be the next DC Extended Universe movie to start production

Ben Bussey
UK Movies Writer
Shazam! will be the next DC hero to go before cameras (credit: DC Comics)

UPDATE: since this report was published, DC’s Geoff Johns has confirmed that Dwayne Johnson will NOT appear as Black Adam in ‘Shazam!’ However, a ‘Black Adam’ movie is still in the works.

‘Justice League’ lands in November, with the currently in-production ‘Aquaman’ due next December – but we haven’t known for sure what would be the next DC Extended Universe entry to go before cameras, until now.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the next Warner Bros/DC movie to start production will be ‘Shazam!’ Although, in a perhaps surprising development, there is not yet confirmation that Dwayne Johnson – to date, the only actor linked to the film – will be on board.

However, it is confirmed that David F Sanberg (‘Lights Out,’ ‘Annabelle: Creation’) will direct the film, which is aiming to start shooting in January or February 2018.

Introduced by the long-defunct Fawcett Comics in 1939, Shazam is an all-powerful superhero with a very different secret identity: he is in fact an ordinary boy named Billy Batson, who becomes tall and mighty whenever he says the magic word ‘Shazam!’

An early comic appearance by the then-Captain Marvel and his alter ego Billy Batson (credit: DC Comics)

Yes, it seems like the success of ‘Wonder Woman’ has shown Warner Bros/DC that a more optimistic, light-hearted approach is the way to go, and concepts don’t come much more light-hearted than this one.

The character of Shazam was originally named Captain Marvel, but was renamed by DC Comics when they relaunched the title in the 1970s, to avoid legal action from Marvel Comics (who, of course, have a character of the same name – whose own movie is due in 2019).

A ‘Shazam!’ movie has been in development since the early 2000s, pre-dating the introduction of the DCEU, and Dwayne Johnson has been linked for most of that time. For a long period it was expected he would take the title role, but way back in 2014 Johnson announced he would instead play Black Adam, an anti-hero with Shazam-like powers.

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, set to join the DCEU as Shazam! anti-hero Black Adam (credit: WENN, DC Comics)

Given that Johnson has for so long been the only name attached to ‘Shazam!’, it is a little surprising to hear he might not wind up being in the movie. That said, it is known that Johnson has his own ‘Black Adam’ solo movie in development – and he does have a very busy schedule as it is.

No other casting announcements for ‘Shazam!’ have been made yet, although Johnson himself recently suggested Armie Hammer as a possibility for the title role.

As for what DC movie will get off the ground next, the THR report suggests that ‘Suicide Squad 2’ may follow ‘Shazam!’ before cameras in mid-2018 – and in the meantime, ‘The Batman,’ ‘The Flash,’ ‘Batgirl,’ ‘Gotham City Sirens’ and ‘Wonder Woman 2’ are all in the pipeline (and with all likelihood, at least two of these are scheduled for release in 2020).

‘Shazam!’ is set to open on 5 April 2019. Before that, the DCEU will continue with ‘Justice League,’ opening in UK cinemas on 17 November.

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