The success of Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot seems to have had an unintended consequence. Following the success of Man of Steel, the film adaptation of the character Shazam, formerly known as Captain Marvel, is now on hold, according to the film’s director.
Director Peter Segal, who is busy promoting his film Grudge Match starring Robert DeNiro and Sylvester Stallone, confirmed the status in a recent interview with Comingsoon.
“The thing is, Shazam has always lived this tortured life going against Superman,” the director said. “This dates back to the 1930s. Because Captain Marvel had similar powers to Superman, the DC Folks back then sued what was the most popular comic book on the stands at the time. Years later, they bought it and it became a DC property but, as long as Superman stays hot in the market place there seems like a little bit of a crossover between the two characters.”
The film, tentatively titled Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam, was being developed with comic writer Geoff Johns. Originally introduced in 1940 in Whiz Comics #2, the character is in reality a young boy named Billy Batson who is granted powers (and the body of an older man), and dubbed the champion of good. For years the character was known as Captain Marvel, but legal issues and confusion over Marvel comics caused DC to promote him under the name “Shazam!” DC then officially renamed him Shazam during its recent 52 reboot.
“After Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day, Segal said. “That’s when you heard those stories [of the film going ahead]. Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it’s difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman’s resurgence.”
That doesn’t mean we won’t see the character, but it’s unlikely that it will be any time soon. DC is following the Marvel plan with its film properties and slowly introducing one large, continuous universe. That will all build to a Justice League film, and if that does well, you can expect to see DC mine its vaults for any and all characters that could make for a successful movie. That means we may still see Shazam on the big screen one day.
There are a lot of boxes that need to be checked along the way though, and for now it sounds like a film version of Shazam is dead.