Production on DC’s Shazam!, set for release on April 5, 2019, is currently underway in Toronto. But while Zachary Levi will star in the film as the titular superhero, the movie may include Henry Cavill reprising his role as the world famous Superman, as seen in Justice League. This means Shazam! could reignite a classic rivalry between two iconic heroes.
On Monday, film producer Dany Garcia shared a photo of Henry Cavill on an unidentified set on her Twitter page. “Who is this man? What are we saying? What are we planning? Oh, it’s goood… You’ll thank me later,” Garcia tweeted with a winking emoji. Not only is Garcia a producer on Shazam, she’s also Cavill’s manager. After she shared the tweet, DC fans began to speculate that Cavill will have a role in Shazam! as Superman. Given the long history between the two heroes, fans are eager to see them meet on the big screen.
In the 1940s, Shazam — another muscled hero who can fly and whose punch packs a wallop — was a popular character whose comics, published by Fawcett, outsold Superman’s. But, the Man of Steel endured thanks to radio, and soon television. A lawsuit in 1953 also alleged that Fawcett was infringing on Superman, which led to the cancellation of Captain Marvel. By 1991, DC had purchased Fawcett and included Shazam (then still known as Captain Marvel) in its canon with Superman.
As DC has pursued its interconnected movie franchise, it was a matter of time before Superman and Shazam (renamed by DC in 2011) would meet. It was a year ago when Dwayne Johnson, who is still signed to portray Shazam villain Black Adam, seemingly confirmed that Superman and Black Adam would cross paths. “One fine day, that’s coming, that’s in the cards,” he told Fandango.
While Shazam has an important history in comics, he is also a distinctly retro hero who hasn’t had a big presence in pop culture in decades. The inclusion of the more recognizable Superman will not only reinforce the DC “Extended Universe” but also help sell Shazam! to a general audience.
But will Shazam! be enough to re-establish the DC franchise? After Justice League, the future of the franchise may lie on solo, stand-out heroes people aren’t overly familiar with. But, it’s hard to say no to help from Superman.