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Shazam 2 officially moves forward, brings back first film’s screenwriter

Although it had the worst opening weekend of all Warner Bros. Pictures’ live-action DC Extended Universe movies, Shazam! is still shaping up to be a critical and commercial success with overwhelmingly positive reviews and plenty of indications that it will have a long run in theaters. Naturally, that means that a sequel has already been green-lit by the studio.

Shazam! screenwriter Henry Gayden has reportedly been hired to pen the screenplay for a sequel to the film, which premiered to $53 million in ticket sales over its three-day opening weekend.

According to The Wrap, Gayden’s return for Shazam 2 has already been settled, while Shazam! director David F. Sandberg and producer Peter Safran are also likely to also return, but nothing is official regarding their involvement yet.

Prior to working on Shazam!, Gayden’s most prominent writing credit was the script for the 2014 film Earth to Echo, a live-action, sci-fi adventure made for young audiences. Gayden is currently working on an adaptation of Last Human, a sci-fi film based on Lee Bacon’s novel of the same name, which is expected to have The Lego Movie and 21 Jump Street directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller behind the camera.

There are no confirmed details regarding the plot of the Shazam! sequel at this early stage, but the first film left the doors wide open for several story arcs to develop.

(Note: The following details could be consider spoilers for anyone who hasn’t seen Shazam! yet. Consider yourself warned.)

One possibility is the long-rumored debut of Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam — a former champion of Earth who abused his powers. That particular character was alluded to in Shazam! but not specifically named, and Johnson has long been attached to play Black Adam in a live-action feature — well before the DCEU was even established, in fact.

A scene featured late in the credits for Shazam! also suggests that a future film will involve Mr. Mind, a telepathic worm that has long been one of Shazam’s most formidable foes due to his ability to control the minds of nearly everyone he encounters. Mr. Mind is seen early in the film, and then shown to have escaped imprisonment later in the movie.

Shazam! has currently earned more than $150 million worldwide, and received an “A” grade from ticket-buying audiences. The film also has 91% positive reviews from critics, giving it the second best reviews of any film in the DCEU, following the 93% positive reviews for Wonder Woman.

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