Now that ‘Man of Steel’ scored a massive haul at the box office and is serving as the basis for DC’s new cinematic universe– with both Wonder Woman and Batman joining Superman on the big screen– one would assume that the odds of loads of other heroes also swooping into theaters would increase. But in one case, it’s the total opposite– Shazam!
Director Peter Segal has been developing a feature film for this property for years now– the adventures of a boy who magically transforms into a super powered adult man– but ironically its ‘Man of Steel”s success which has derailed ‘Shazam!’ Segal explained “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. At its core, it’s a lot like Superman.”
So much so, that DC sued ‘Shazam!”s original publisher Fawcett Comics in the 1940s for copyright infringement… and won. Fawcett ceased publishing it’s highly successful ‘Shazam!’ line of comics. Ironically, in the 1970s, DC acquired the rights to the character and integrated him into their comics, however the ‘Shazam!’ comics had a vastly different tone than the darker DC books, so DC segregated the character, then known as Captain Marvel and his family of characters on Earth S (sometimes referred to as Earth 5), with the characters only occasionally encountering Superman and company.
However, over time, DC’s parallel worlds were merged into one, so now Captain Marvel and Superman occupied the same world and Captain Marvel has struggled to stay relevant. Geoff Johns recently revamped the character, changing his secret identity from the optimistic, “Ghee whiz!” take that most associated with him, into a cynical, manipulative jerk. He also changed his name from Captain Marvel to Shazam. The character only began appearing recently, so there’s still room for development, but fan reaction has been mixed.
Segal went on to discuss his take on the concept, “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. 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.”
Do you think ‘Shazam!’ is a good concept for a movie? Are you disappointed by this news?