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THIS WEEK will only contain a single editorial from me. I bring into question a character who was missing from last week’s DAWN OF THE JUSTICE LEAGUE TV special.
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH SHAZAM?
I’ve had a bit of a DC hangover from all the goods we got last week. I’m not complaining in the slightest. After all, this is the kind of world I wish we lived in as a kid. But it was a lot of stuff to take in at once. For the longest time, we’ve been feeding on scraps and promises from DC and WB, but now after years of waiting, the DC Extended Universe is mere months away from getting started.
That DAWN OF THE JUSTICE LEAGUE special was great, and it pretty much showed us bits and pieces of every member of Justice League. Or, hang on. Did it? Going back and forth, re-reading, re-watching, and re-absorbing all that was given to us, I couldn’t help but wonder…what happened to Shazam?
If it’s been less than a year since you started following this stuff, let me backpedal a bit.
Back in September of 2014, The Rock himself, Dwayne Johnson revealed he would be taking on the role of Black Adam in the live-action SHAZAM flick from DC.
One month later, on October 14, 2014, DC and WB announced the full lineup of films of what would retroactively be called the DC Extended Universe.
Here was the announced lineup!
• BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (2016)
• SUICIDE SQUAD (2016)
• WONDER WOMAN (2017)
• JUSTICE LEAGUE PART ONE (2017)
• THE FLASH (2018)
• AQUAMAN (2018)
• SHAZAM (2019)
• JUSTICE LEAGUE PART TWO (2019)
• CYBORG (2020)
• GREEN LANTERN (2020) — Later became GREEN LANTERN CORPS
So in 2019, we are to expect a SHAZAM movie. Here’s the kicker:
That film was announced the month prior to the DECU announcement, and was to be produced in collaboration with New Line. The president of New Line, Toby Emmerich, even said the following in September, over a month before the DCEU announcement:
“It feels to me like Shazam will have a tone unto itself. It’s a DC comic, but it’s not a Justice League character, and it’s not a Marvel comic. The tone and the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies.”
He outright states that Shazam will NOT be a member of the Justice League. This caused some serious confusion among fans, and the confusion didn’t subside by the year’s end. Instead the waters only seemed to get murkier.
In an official DC comics blog post in December reflected on the announcement earlier that year, and here’s what they said:
“For fans who were hoping to see a DC Cinematic Universe similar to what they’ve seen from other publishers, one that included super heroes other than Superman or Batman, there didn’t seem to be a lot to talk about.
That changed on October 15, 2014, when Warner Bros. revealed a full slate of ten DC Entertainment feature films all set within the same universe.”
So this flat-out states that SHAZAM is one of ten films that will take place in the DCEU. The Rock even went so far as to speculate that his character, Black Adam, at some point, could join the Justice League.
Okay. So he is a part of the DCEU. Problem solved, right?
Let’s fast-forward to last week. Shazam was no where to be found in that presentation—and this is a film that’s due out before CYBORG and GREEN LANTERN CORPS, which were both mentioned in the presentation.
So with all this in mind, and in the spirit of Jerry Seinfeld, I have to ask: “What’s the deal with Shazam?”
I’m willing to accept it if they decide to toss him from the DCEU. All in all, Shazam (or as he was first called, Captain Marvel) is a silly, wish-fulfillment character. If you’re not familiar, Captain Marvel’s alter ego is a little boy named Billy Batson, who has the power to turn into a grown-up, buff, Superman-esque character with the utterance of a single word: Shazam!
As referenced earlier, back in September of 2014, New Line President seemed to understand that the tone they were going for was quite different from what they’re going for in, say, BATMAN v SUPERMAN. Just from the premise alone, it definitely seems like a character better suited to a more Marvel-type treatment. So why the the back and forth?
Simply put, it’s possible things changed between the months of September and October of 2014. Rather than have him in his own separate universe, they perhaps saw fit to bring him along with the rest of the Justice League. This does seem to fit things in the grand scheme, because when you look back at the evidence, Emmerich's comment is the only one that says Shazam will not be in the DCEU.
So if that's the case, why was he absent from last week’s presentation? Well, here are two options:
- DC and WB changed their minds again, and realized he didn’t fit in well with the other more serious films.
- They have bigger plans for the franchise and character.
Now I think my number two requires some explanation. Back when the Rock was doing a bunch of SAN ANDREAS interviews, his talk of Black Adam—who is the big bad of Shazam—potentially joining the Justice League led to a lot of speculation (that video is above).
Black Adam is a character who was the first man ever to be imbued with Captain Marvel’s powers. Over time, he became corrupted by his power, and was eventually banished far away by Shazam, the old man who gave him the power. He eventually comes back to fight the Billy Batson Shazam, but that veers from my point.
Occasionally, the Black Adam character is used more as an anti-hero than a villain, and it’s that fact I--and many other speculating fans--find interesting.
Black Adam is strong. We know that. There have been comics when all the heroes combined can’t take him on. So what if Black Adam is the main villain of the first JUSTICE LEAGUE film? From there, he is defeated, and in the SHAZAM film due out in 2019 (or potentially earlier, if the Rock has his way), we see his “origin” story. No, not his origin from ancient Egyptian times, but his origin as a superhero to take on the mantle of Captain Marvel (or Shazam). This way, he’ll be primed and ready to take on Darkseid with the rest of the Justice League in JUSTICE LEAGUE PART TWO.
Yes, I am suggesting that they nix Billy Batson altogether. In today’s climate of comic book movies, I don’t think he’ll be missed too much.
All of this is a very roundabout way of suggesting that DC is keeping the franchise under wraps. They can’t reveal info about the movie SHAZAM, because in doing so, they’d have to reveal that the Rock’s Black Adam will, in fact, be reforming into that character.
What do you think? Do you think Black Adam could be Shazam? Is the SHAZAM flick still a part of the DCEU, or am I reading too much into this? Let us know in the comments down below!