From Marvel To DC: Zachary Levi Cast As ‘Shazam!’ Lead

Shazam! Abracadabra! DC has just used its magic wand to snatch one of Marvel’s actors – Thor: Ragnarok’s Zachary Levi – to play a lead character in Shazam!

Levi, best known for his starring role on the TV series Chuck, has a lot of superhero action coming his way, and is even expected to be pitted against Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s Black Adam in DC’s newest film.

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news on Friday that Levi was cast as the lead character in the DC comic book adaptation Shazam! to be directed by David F. Sandberg.

Levi reportedly won a tight race against contenders such as WWE wrestler John Cena, Zane Holtz (From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series), Derek Theler (ABC Family’s Baby Daddy), Billy Magnussen (Bridge of Spies), and actor Jake McDorman (American Sniper, Limitless TV series), all of whom were eyeing to get the role.

Shazam!, which was confirmed back in July and is expected to hit theaters in April 2019, centers on a boy named Billy Batson (Levi), who is lucky enough to transform into an adult superhero just by saying the magic word, “Shazam!”

The word “Shazam,” which anyone owning a smartphone in 2017 may recognize thanks to an app of the same name that allows to identify music based on a short sample played externally (in a TV commercial or a bar), is actually an acronym of six “immortal elders” (ancient world gods).

These ancient gods include Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury, from which the adult version of Batson (Levi) derives his superpowers to be the world’s mightiest mortal.

Zachary Levi at Guardians Of The Galaxy World Premiere in Hollywood
Zachary Levi has been cast as lead actor in DC's Shazam. [Image by DFree/Shutterstock]

Shazam! is set to be a huge project for Levi, who is best known for his comedic credentials on NBC’s TV show Chuck, which ended its run in 2012. However, Levi is no stranger to starring in superhero movies, as the 37-year-old actor can be seen next week in DC competitor Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok.

In the new Marvel Studios film, Levi stars as Fandral, an ally and friend of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and a member of the Warriors Three. Interestingly, the character was previously played in Thor by Joshua Dallas.

In fact, Levi has been soaking up Hollywood fame lately. The actor has recently appeared in NBC’s Heroes Reborn and was seen in the comedy Telenovela starring Eva Longoria.

As for the Shazam! director, Sandberg has no prior experience with superhero movies. Sandberg is best known for horror movies such as 2016’s Lights Out and this year’s Annabelle: Creation, which has raked in an unexpectedly huge $303 million worldwide since its premiere in August.

Shazam! is being produced by Peter Safran, who has previously worked with Sandberg on Annabelle: Creation and is producing DC’s Aquaman for Warner Bros.

The new DC movie is being developed jointly with a film centering on Shazam! villain Black Adam, to be played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Shazam! is set to start filming in Toronto in February 2018.

[Featured Image by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]