David F. Sandberg (“Annabelle: Creation”) directs New Line Cinema’s “Shazam!,” the origin story that stars Zachary Levi (TV’s “Chuck”) as the titular DC Super Hero, along with Asher Angel (TV’s “Andi Mack”) as Billy Batson, and Mark Strong (the “Kingsman” movies) in the role of Super-Villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. Peter Safran (upcoming “Aquaman,” “The Conjuring” and “Annabelle” films) serves as the film’s producer.

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Levi), courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Strong).

“Shazam!” also stars Jack Dylan Grazer (“IT”) as Billy’s best friend and ultimate superhero enthusiast, Freddy, part of the foster family that includes Mary, played by Grace Fulton (“Annabelle: Creation”); Darla, played by Faithe Herman (TV’s “This is Us”); Eugene, played by Ian Chen (TV’s “Fresh Off the Boat”); and Pedro, played by Jovan Armand (TV’s “Hawaii Five-O”). Cooper Andrews (TV’s “The Walking Dead”) and Marta Milans (TV’s “Killer Women”) play foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez, with Oscar nominee Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond”) as the Wizard.

Firmly set in the DC universe but with his own distinctly fun, family-centric tone, the screenplay is by Henry Gayden, story by Gayden and Darren Lemke. Shazam was created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck. Christopher Godsick, Jeffrey Chernov, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia serve as executive producers.

Sandberg’s creative team includes his “Annabelle: Creation” director of photography Maxime Alexandre, production designer Jennifer Spence, editor Michel Aller and costume designer Leah Butler.

A New Line Cinema production, “Shazam!” is set for release on April 5, 2019. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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Well, perhaps....

Commander Benson said:

ClarkKent_DC said:

  • If you could say a magic word and be transformed into an all-powerful being, why would you ever change back? 

This is precisely the reason I've proffered over the years, regarding the question of whether Billy Batson becomes Captain Marvel, or merely changes places with him.

During the Golden Age, the evidence was strongly on the side of Billy and Captain Marvel being two separate entities, albeit privy to the knowledge that the other gained.  However, it wasn't one hundred per cent; there were a few stories that blurred the issue.

JD DeLuzio said:

To which I point out "Billy Batson's Xmas", from Captain Marvel Adventures # 69 (Feb., 1947), in which, during the course of the story, we see both Billy and Cap trying to figure out what to get the other for Christmas.  This is not depicted as a ruse to fool their mutual friends into believing that they are two separate individuals.  Their personal thought balloons express that they consider the other a separate entity while they agonise over what the most appropriate gift would be.

So, unless Billy Batson is schizophrenic, it's a mark in the "Cap and Billy are two discrete persons" column.

Since Mary Marvel has always been portrayed as the same person as Mary Batson, only with super-powers, and Captain Marvel Junior has always been Freddy Freeman with super-powers (& no crutch), it seems to make less sense that Captain Marvel would NOT be Billy Batson in an older, super-powered form.  I mean, why should he be someone else sharing space with Billy when the rest of the Shazam Family was not?  Considering the sheer volume of stories Captain Marvel appeared in during his heyday, and how quickly they were being turned out, I'd wager that there are plenty of other topics about him that feature the same kind of contradictory references as the "same person or different people" topic, which as far as I can tell, has been debated since the early days of the feature.  If Captain Marvel ISN'T Billy in his idealized "adult" form, just as Junior is Freddy in his idealized "teen" form, who IS Captain Marvel, and where does he come from?  Since Black Adam was also just Teth Adam with powers, it's unlikely that a previous champion of Shazam is being "reborn" every time Billy summons him, so unless he's an alien from planet Hala, I have no idea where a separate Captain Marvel entity could come from.  I'm not saying they couldn't possibly be different people, I just can't see, given that all the other characters who use the same power source simply become "better" versions of themselves, why is Billy the sole exception, and what is the source of the Captain Marvel entity?  Inquiring minds want to know....

Dave Elyea said:

Since Mary Marvel has always been portrayed as the same person as Mary Batson, only with super-powers, and Captain Marvel Junior has always been Freddy Freeman with super-powers (& no crutch), it seems to make less sense that Captain Marvel would NOT be Billy Batson in an older, super-powered form.  I mean, why should he be someone else sharing space with Billy when the rest of the Shazam Family was not?  

Why SHOULDN'T Captain Marvel be someone else sharing space with Billy when the rest of the Shazam Family was not sharing space with their alter-egos? He's Captain Marvel; he doesn't have to match the others.

Dave Elyea said:

I'm not saying they couldn't possibly be different people, I just can't see, given that all the other characters who use the same power source simply become "better" versions of themselves, why is Billy the sole exception, and what is the source of the Captain Marvel entity? Inquiring minds want to know....

Y'know, that never bothered me before ... and I'm not going to let it now. 

Dave Elyea said:

Since Mary Marvel has always been portrayed as the same person as Mary Batson, only with super-powers, and Captain Marvel Junior has always been Freddy Freeman with super-powers (& no crutch), it seems to make less sense that Captain Marvel would NOT be Billy Batson in an older, super-powered form. 

One may as well ask, if Billy Batson and Captain Marvel are the same person, why does Billy transform into an adult, when Freddy Freeman and Mary Batson remain their respective ages when they change?

The real answer, of course, is that the various Marvel Family writers didn't concern themselves with continuity or internal logic.  They just cranked out stories about characters that they felt would entertain.

Within the fictional conceit of the Shazam universe, the fact that all of the Marvel Family were created by magic more or less obviates any application of logic.  Billy changes into an adult, while Freddy and Mary don't, because it's magic.  Captain Marvel, Junior's costume is blue, instead of red like the others, is because it's magic.  The three Lieutenant Marvels have to say "Shazam!" in unison to change, while Freddy and Mary don't, is because it's magic.  And Billy and Captain Marvel are discrete individuals, while Freddy/Junior and Mary Batson/Marvel aren't, is because it's magic.

Even so, one can apply some rationale to the Marvel Family.  Part of it, anyway.  One could argue that Billy and Cap are separate individuals while Freddy and Junior are not is because the wizard Shazam never intended Freddy to be a Marvel.  Freddy received his powers after nearly dying at the hands of Captain Nazi.  Captain Marvel brought the boy to Shazam, who syphoned some of Cap's power into Freddy to save his life.  It makes sense to consider that, because Freddy was not part of the wizard's original Marvel plan, Freddy does not acquire a separate persona as Captain Marvel, Jr.

Of course, that doesn't explain Mary Marvel's situation.  But, as I said, it's magic and can ignore reason.

CK raised an excellent point in that DC has depicted every post-Crisis incarnation of Cap as having the mentality of a young adolescent boy.  As CK pointed out, sometimes it's even a stupid young adolescent boy.  But even when he's smart adolescent, the Billy-minded Cap preöccupies himself with typical juvenile concerns.  So much for the wisdom of Solomon.

You never saw that in the Golden-Age or Bronze-Age Captain Marvel.  He had an adult's maturity.  (Though, to be fair, the Golden-Age and Bronze-Age Billy Batson pretty much had an adult's maturity, too.)

Obviously, the powers-that-be at DC think that seeing the adult Captain Marvel behaving like an early teen-ager, texting his school buds with his smart phone and getting nervous around girls, is Great Fun.

I'd rather see a situation in which Billy changes places with Captain Marvel, and it's a Mature Red Cheese rolling his eyes at Billy's adolescent behaviour.  ("Doesn't the kid read anything besides a comic book?")  But then, that wouldn't sell to DC's twenty-something-and-below market.

Actually, I believe the correct response to my questions on the matter is "A Wizard Did It."  If it's good enough for Lucy Lawless, it's good enough for me.  Of course, the real reason that the Golden Age & Bronze Age Captain Marvel/Billy Batson was smarter and more mature was that he was the "Alpha" hero of his reality, and treated as such.  After the Crisis on Infinite Earths folded him into the combined DC Earth, Superman kept the role of "Alpha" hero, and to find a spot for Cap they decided to lean in to the "He's just a kid" aspect of the character, and sadly, not even a kid of average intelligence.  That's left us with decades now of "The World's Mightiest Moron" dressed like Captain Marvel. 

Dave Elyea said:

Of course, the real reason that the Golden Age & Bronze Age Captain Marvel/Billy Batson was smarter and more mature was that he was the "Alpha" hero of his reality, and treated as such.  After the Crisis on Infinite Earths folded him into the combined DC Earth, Superman kept the role of "Alpha" hero, and to find a spot for Cap they decided to lean in to the "He's just a kid" aspect of the character, and sadly, not even a kid of average intelligence.  That's left us with decades now of "The World's Mightiest Moron" dressed like Captain Marvel. 

That's about as on-target for the reason behind turning Captain Marvel into a doofus kid as anything I've ever heard.  I couldn't agree more.

“Of course, that doesn't explain Mary Marvel's situation.”

…or Black Adam’s, either. But, y’know… “magic.”

“DC has depicted every post-Crisis incarnation of Cap as having the mentality of a young adolescent boy. “

I remember, in the Legends mini-series immediately post-Crisis, the magic lighting killed someone (Doctor Bedlam, I believe), which caused Billy to vow never to transform again. Later, circumstances forced his hand, and as soon as he became Captain Marvel, the wisdom of Solomon kicked in and he realized that Billy was the victim of a hoax.

John Byrne pitched a Captain Marvel series at this time, but it was rejected in favor of the four-issue post-Legends mini-series by Roy Thomas and Tom Mandrake. I often wonder what the Byrne series would have been like.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

John Byrne pitched a Captain Marvel series at this time, but it was rejected in favor of the four-issue post-Legends mini-series by Roy Thomas and Tom Mandrake. I often wonder what the Byrne series would have been like.

I never knew about that possibility, but I already know I would have preferred it to what we got. Whatever Tom Mandrake's strengths are as an artist, he was a bad fit for Captain Marvel. 

Dave Elyea said:

Since Mary Marvel has always been portrayed as the same person as Mary Batson, only with super-powers, and Captain Marvel Junior has always been Freddy Freeman with super-powers (& no crutch), it seems to make less sense that Captain Marvel would NOT be Billy Batson in an older, super-powered form. 

Somewhere buried on this site (where I can't find it), someone made the point that Mary Batson doesn't change into a different person when she becomes Mary Marvel because she is basically happy being herself. Similarly, Freddy Freeman doesn't change into a different person when he becomes Captain Marvel Jr. because he is basically happy being himself, although he certainly does not wish to have a disability -- so, Captain Marvel Jr. doesn't have one.

But Billy? He is not fundamentally happy being himself, what with being an orphan and homeless and all. Following that logic -- as much as logic can bear on these things -- Billy transforms into an idealized version of himself, not just more powerful, but bigger and older. And to take it further, one who looks like his father, as depicted in The Power of Shazam graphic novel.

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