Due to the relative success of Man of Steel it seems the DC Cinematic Universe is finally moving forward, but it seems to have had an unintended consequence. It doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing a Shazam film anytime soon. Grudge Match director Peter Segal was developing the project alongside DC Entertainment years ago, and in a recent interview with ComingSoon he said the project has been put on hold indefinitely now that the Superman franchise has been successfully rebooted.
The film, tentatively titled Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam, was being developed with comic writer Geoff Johns. Originally introduced in 1940 in Whiz Comics #2, the character is in reality a young boy named Billy Batson who is granted powers (and the body of an older man), and dubbed the champion of good. For years the character was known as Captain Marvel, but legal issues and confusion over Marvel comics caused DC to promote him under the name “Shazam!” DC then officially renamed him Shazam during its recent 52 reboot.
This is what Segal had to say about the project:
“Shazam has always lived this tortured life going against Superman. This dates back to the 1930s. Because Captain Marvel had similar powers to Superman, the DC folks back then sued what was the most popular comic book on the stands at that time. Years later, they bought it and it became a DC property but, as long as Superman stays hot in the market place, there seems like a little bit of a crossover between the two characters. After Bryan Singer’s ‘Superman Returns,’ it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day. That’s when you heard those stories. Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it’s difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman’s resurgence”
The director went on to explain his take on the superhero character:
“At its core, it’s a lot like Superman. There’s this boy trapped inside of a superhero’s body. He’s still a boy inside, so there’s this opportunity to play a lot of humor with the action. Originally, Stan Lee brought me Fantastic Four a number of years ago for that very reason. I always have the question when people bring me superhero properties, ‘Why me?’ With Stan, he said, ‘It’s because there’s a sense of humor within all Marvel characters.’ These characters are flawed and, within those flaws, there is humor. When [producer] Toby Emmerich came to me with Shazam, it was because of those same reasons. To draw from that humor and to mix it with great action and pathos. I’ve always loved Shazam, but I don’t know if it’s going to see the light of day anytime soon.”
Did you want to see a Shazam movie?