It’s been a long time coming. Whether people know him as Captain Marvel or SHAZAM, Billy Batson is finally on his way to the big screen. And he may be on his way sooner than anyone anticipated. Warner Bros. announced at SDCC that SHAZAM! would be the next DCU film to enter production. The film is set to be helmed by David F. Sandberg and may begin production as early as February of 2018, shooting for a 2019 release. As exciting as that is, however, it comes with some other news. Apparently, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may not be featured in the movie. With all of this information coming out in regards to the movie, there are still a number of questions to be had.
The first and most obvious question comes with Dwayne Johnson’s potential absence in the film. Obviously, this comes as a shock to fans. It’s confirmed that Johnson will portray the character of Black Adam in the DCU. However, if he won’t be present in this first movie, then who will be the villain? There are a handful of possibilities. Perhaps the next most famous (or infamous) of Captain Marvel’s enemies is Doctor Sivana. The odds of seeing the mad doctor on-screen are considerably higher, now that DC seems to be more willing to embrace the silliness of the genre. However, there are other enemies to consider.
The bigger question about Black Adam would be the extent of his involvement in the DCU. Despite being a dark mirror of Captain Marvel, Adam is much more than a Captain Marvel villain. In the modern era, he’s even the dictator/king of his own (fictional) country, alongside the likes of the Goddess, Isis. If that angle is going to be played up, then it’s possible fans will get to see him in not just an eventual SHAZAM! sequel, but maybe other DCU films. Justice League Dark, perhaps?
The next question comes more from the behind-the-scenes side of things. First of all, no, this is not the director of Kung Fury. This is David F. Sandberg, the director of Lights Out and Annabel: Creation. This is where the question comes from. Sandberg is a horror director. Almost every directorial entry in his filmography is a horror short. His only two feature length credits were the aforementioned horror movies. It seems like a strange choice, right? One could maybe see him directing Swamp Thing or Justice League Dark, maybe a solo movie about John Constantine, but Captain Marvel? One of the silliest, most innocent and lighthearted superheroes in DC’s catalog? That seems… off. What about his filmography suggests this would be the pick for him?
Of course, this is entirely based upon assumption. It’s possible he’s simply a fan of the character. One shouldn’t forget that aside from directing women in the past, nothing about Patty Jenkins’s filmography screams “Wonder Woman.” And that certainly worked out for her. So it’s entirely possible Sandberg will do a marvelous job. And hopefully, he will.
Captain Marvel has always been a character known for his innocence and purity. He is the embodiment of all kids who marvel at superheroes (hence the name), and dream of becoming one. That’s what he is – a kid who idolizes superheroes and suddenly finds he has the power of Superman. It really shouldn’t be a difficult thing to make interesting. Movies and shows about kids have been earning the endearment of audiences for ages. Given Billy’s supporting cast, it’d be pretty easy to set up a Goonies-style movie about kids (though not strictly enjoyable to kids), where one of them just happens to secretly be a superhero. Whatever they decide to do, SHAZAM! will certainly be an interesting new flavor for the DCEU, going forward.