Justice League was supposed to be DC’s Avengers, but the superhero team-up hasn’t done nearly as well as Marvel’s landmark 2012 film. Despite this, there are still more DCEU movies on the horizon, and the star of one of them says it’s going to be analogous to the MCU’s weirdest, riskiest movie: Guardians of the Galaxy.

Zachary Levi is set to play the titular hero in Shazam, DC’s upcoming movie about the classic, wholesome comics character. Shazam, who was originally known as Captain Marvel before DC changed the name to avoid any confusion with the competition, is a different sort of hero. His secret identity doesn’t involve the beefy hero just slapping some glasses on. No, instead Shazam is really 13-year-old Billy Batson, a kid who turns into a superpowered adult when he utters his magic word.

Shazam’s an old-school character who is somewhat of a quaint oddity in today’s superhero landscape, and Levi thinks that will work to DC’s advantage. Speaking at Heroes & Villains Fan Fest in San Jose, California, over the weekend, the actor explained why he thought Shazam could be the DCEU’s Guardians.

James Gunn and the gang killed it. It brought so much heart and humor and I think it was kind of this dark horse that took everyone by storm. I think Shazam kind of has the possibility to do that, because Shazam is not, for all intents and purposes, it’s not Supes [Superman], it’s not Batman, it’s not Wonder Woman. If you look at most Justice League montages or Justice League posters, Shazam is not necessarily one of the characters you put on there, except he is in the Justice League, so if we do well enough…

It makes a certain amount of sense in that both movies are adapting lesser-known, quirky properties. The specific feel of the films would have to be different. There’s a case to be made that Warner Bros. thought that Suicide Squad was going to be their Guardians, since it had classic rock in the soundtrack and a colorful cast of B-list and C-list characters. Shazam might do better if DC is earnest in its approach, because for all of Guardians’s flash and style, it was the film’s heart that really carried it.

Levi says that Shazam will also take after another classic movie: Tom Hanks’s Big.

Shazam gets to be a fun, jovial, because he is,” Levi said. “He’s Billy Batson, he’s 13. It’s the movie Big, but with superpowers — which I’m beyond stoked about.”


Shazam is set to come out in 2019.

Photos via DC Comics/Marvel Studios