‘Shazam’ Movie No Longer Fits Into the Planned DC Universe, Says Director Peter Segal
Director Peter Segal ('Anger Management,' '50 First Dates') had long-running plans to bring the DC comics hero Shazam to life on the big screen in a film titled 'Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam,' which was brought to his attention by producer-writer Toby Emmerich. But now, in light of Warner Bros.' current plan for the DC cinematic universe, which kick started anew with Zack Snyder's 'Man of Steel,' Segal doubts it will "see the light of day anytime soon."
After Christopher Nolan's (dare we say) "gritty" Batman trilogy proved a huge hit at the box office and amongst fans, Warner Bros. decided to bring the same approach to Superman, which, as Segal explained, left little room for Shazam. Speaking with Coming Soon in promotion of the director's 'Grudge Match,' he said:
The thing is, Shazam has always lived this tortured life going against Superman. 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 that 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. 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. That's when you heard those stories. 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.
The latest priority for Warner Bros. and DC is, obviously, the next installment in the 'Man of Steel' universe, the untitled 'Batman vs. Superman,' which sees Henry Cavill reprising his Superman role alongside the newly cast Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. With plans for more low-budgeted superhero films and an ultimate 'Justice League' team up, Shazam seems ripe for some live-action onscreen rendering, though the chances of that happening are slim in light of the tone needed for the character.
As Segal continued:
I was working with Geoff Johns. At its core, it's a lot like Superman. There's this boy trapped inside of a superhero's body. He's still a boy inside, so there's this opportunity to play a lot of humor with the action. Originally, Stan Lee brought me 'Fantastic Four' a number of years for that very reason. I always have the question when people bring me superhero properties, "Why me?" With Stan, he said, "It's because there's a sense of humor within all Marvel characters." These characters are flawed and, within those flaws, there is humor. When Toby Emmerich came to me with Shazam, it was because of those same reasons. To draw from that humor and to mix it with great action and pathos. I've always loved Shazam, but I don't know if it's going to see the light of day anytime soon.
'Batman vs. Superman' will hit theaters July 17, 2015 and is a major step towards the planned 'Justice League' movie. Since WB and DC have characters like Aquaman, The Flash and Green Lantern higher up on their list of priorities, here's hoping for Shazam to get his turn.