Considering the info dump that is sure to come zooming our way over the next few days as San Diego Comic-Con launches with everyone under the sun (except Marvel Studios) unveil all manner of new images, trailers, news, announcements, etc., the fact that one project– Warner Brothers’ ‘Shazam!’— has landed the cover of the exclusive issue of ‘Entertainment Weekly’ is pretty huge. Or… at least ‘Big’.
“It’s ‘Superman’ meets ‘Big’!” star Zachary Levi enthusiastically crows in the issue. In ‘Shazam!’, 14 year-old Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, gains the mystical ability to become a grown-up superhero, Levi, by shouting the magic word… what else… “Shazam!”
“It’s complete wish-fulfillment — if you scour all of DC and Marvel there are very few characters that are actually stoked to be a superhero. They’re not brooding, they’re not put out, like ‘Oh dammit, I gotta save the world again!’ Billy Batson is like Peter Parker, they’re thrilled to have these powers and can’t wait to try them out.”
After previously scrapping the reveal of Levi in full ‘Shazam!’ regalia, in the past few days, Warner Brothers has cranked out two new images. In the first, Levi and costar Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays his buddy/foster brother, are shown knocking back a couple of sodas. (Sounds like he really didn’t take full advantage of being an adult. I mean there are certain drinks that adults are allowed to consume that kids aren’t.)
Grazer also appears in the second picture that WB released. That one’s a little harder to grasp out of context. He’s kind of groping Levi’s chest causing it to light up. I’m… sure it makes sense in the movie and isn’t as creepy as it sounds.
Even though it’s obvious that the ‘Shazam!’ EW cover has been in the works for some time, Levi hyped its publication with a joking Tweet:
Hey @EW! Big fan. Sooo, this Comic Con issue… I know it’s like days away from dropping, but is there any chance I can get on the cover? How do we make this happen? Asking for a friend who was too embarrassed to ask for me. ♂
— Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) July 17, 2018
And the actual cover plays up the child-like nature of the hero:
Fittingly, Levi’s eyes are wide open, like an excited kid. (This is ironic, however, because in his original Golden Age comics, the character, whose face was based on that of actor Fred McMurry, had squinting eyes with no visible pupils.) It may be a bit corny, but Levi is also blowing a bubble with pink gum, a throwback to classic childhood behaviors, but is also fiddling with his smartphone, assuring that this is a thoroughly modern kid.
Well, a kid in the body of a newly buff Zachary Levi. As he said of his snug costume, “It fits me like a glove because it is a f—ing glove. It’s super tight, but it’s great. I look and feel like this jacked superhero.” (Is there a magic word I can say to look like Zachary Levi? I don’t even need the powers. Just the appearance.)