The road to ‘Shazam!’ has been a topsy-turvy one for Zachary Levi, oddly enough starting with being cast as a supporting hero in Marvel’s MCU. As many fans are aware. Levi was the original choice for Fandril, one of the Warriors Three in ‘Thor,’ though he had to drop out and was replaced by Josh Dallas in the first movie. He returned to the role in the sequel ‘Thor: The Dark World,’ but by then it was clear that Fandril and the other supporting players of ‘Thor’ would not be getting much screen time or character work, at least not in the same way they did in the comics. Which made it not that surprising to see them so quickly disposed of (i.e. killed) by the all-powerful villain Hela in ‘Thor: Ragnarok,’ though many fans were slightly taken aback to see Thor’s closest friends killed in such a flip manner.
Luckily for Zachary Levi, the death of Fandril opened up new possibilities for him, namely by allowing him to work in the DCEU, where he was cast as the alter-ego of Billy Batson, aka the super-hero Shazam!.
When speaking to the man recently on the set of the new film, Screen Rant asked Levi about his thoughts on what happened with his character of Fandril in the MCU, and whether he worried something similar might happen to him in the DCEU. Levi replied:
“No, because I’m the Earth’s mightiest mortal. What the hell are they going to do to me? No. I knew when I got cast as Fandral in the first [Thor movie], though I wasn’t able to do it, I knew that the Warriors Three could be really fun characters if they ever developed them. They just didn’t. They didn’t. They didn’t in the first one. They didn’t really in Dark World. That’s not to say there weren’t some moments that were shot that weren’t used, ultimately, in the movie. Even when I got killed, there was more to that scene. Granted, maybe 30 seconds more of a line here, a line there. Kill, kill, you’re dead. I knew Fandral could be fodder, would be fodder. I don’t know… unless Marvel really wanted to be like, ‘We want every single character we’ve ever seen, particularly demi-gods, to be able to be a part of Avengers.’
But then the truth is, to be honest… If let’s say Fandral was still alive, and let’s say they tapped me to be in Avengers [Infinity War], I’d probably be sitting in Atlanta for three months doing almost nothing. And then they’d be, ‘Okay now we’re ready for you, you guys go in,’ And then we’d get killed then…The way it all worked out is exactly the way it was supposed to. Certainly in the moment, would it have been cool if Fandral got more to do? Dude, what a fun character. Errol Flynn. Viking. Space God. Like, c’mon. Ladies man. C’mon! That’s all fun. So, that was a little bit of a bummer. But looking back, if I didn’t die, I might still be under contract with Marvel and I never would have been able to get this job. And I say, ‘F*** that.’ This is the coolest thing ever. I’m so happy. And literally to be able to jumpstart my life. I’m healthier and stronger and happier than I’ve ever been in my life.”
For me, it never really sat right with me how quickly Thor’s supporting characters were killed off (Lady Sif wasn’t even seen in ‘Ragnorak,’ so we do not even know what happened to her), it all just felt like a convenience thing that was hastily thrown in for continuity’s sake, which felt like a disservice to fans of the characters. So in that light I am happy for Levi to have found a new role, especially one that seems to fit him so well, and has the potential to be one of the better movies of the DCEU, though it now has to compete with both ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Aquaman‘ for that title (though to be clear, ‘Wonder Woman’ is the better movie, ‘Aquaman’ is mainly on the list because it has made so much money and, I think, because James Wan is an amazing director. Despite that, I still believe, as always, that Aquaman the character is dumb.)
What are your thoughts on how Fandril and the other Warriors Three were treated in the MCU? Are you excited to see Levi in ‘Shazam!’ Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below!