Dwayne Johnson (also known as The Rock) set the record straight regarding the upcoming ‘Shazam!’ movie which Warner Brothers has cast him in. Ever since 1984’s ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths,’ the lead ‘Shazam!’ character, Captain Marvel and his supporting cast, which includes Captain Marvel Jr. and Mary Marvel among others, were transitioned into the mainstream DC Universe, where they co-existed alongside Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, et al. Unfortunately, the whimsical ‘Shazam!’ characters were never a very good match for the contemporary setting. The characters enjoyed a healthy run in the Jerry Ordway series ‘The Power of Shazam!.’ but that series seemed to exist in its own reality with little connection to the greater DC Universe.
Prior to ‘Crisis,’ DC had sequestered the ‘Shazam!’ characters, which it had acquired from defunct Fawcett Comics, on their own parallel world, alternately referred to as Earth-S and Earth-5 (because in Comic Sans, S and 5 look the same– just FYI, the S was said to stand for Shazam!). But with ‘Crisis’ DC was seeking to streamline their continuity to make their comics more new reader-friendly and that centered around eliminating parallel universes, which resulted in the more fanciful Shazam Family being forcibly thrust into the mainstream DCU.
Most recently, DC has revived the concept in the pages of ‘Justice League’, changing the main character’s name from Captain Marvel (a name DC could never print on comic books or merchandising, due to a legal conflict with Marvel Comics) to ‘Shazam!’ the name it had been forced to use whenever licensing the character, including on the fondly recalled Saturday morning live-action TV series. Writer/publisher Geoff Johns has also reinvented the naive, wide-eyed alter ego Billy Batson as a snarky punk.
While Shazam is now an active member of the Justice League in the present-day DC Universe, it looks like the filmmakers are going back to basics and setting the cinematic version of ‘Shazam!’ in a world free of Superman and company.
When a fan made a comment that he didn’t think the current regime including David Goyer and Zack Snyder, the brains behind the… well dark Dark Knight saga could properly handle the more traditionally lighthearted ‘Shazam!’ property, Johnson replied:
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) November 2, 2014
The ‘#Independence’ makes it sound like the film will in no way tie into ‘Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice’ or ‘Justice League Part 1’ and ‘Part 2’. Captain Marvel/Shazam, though a pretty high profile superhero, isn’t a “traditional” Justice League member, despite a few brief runs with the team. He and his supporting cast have really always worked best on their own.
The other big bit of news is that he confirms that he will be playing Black Adam, the role most fans wanted him to play from the start, although there was some question as to whether Johnson would be playing the Egyptian villain or the title hero.
What do you think? Are you happy that ‘Shazam!’ will take place in its own reality instead of tying into the larger DC cinematic universe? Or do you think the good Captain deserves a slot in the live-action Justice League with the other big shots?