In the early 2000’s, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema were developing a big screen adaptation of DC’s Captain Marvel, who is now officially named “Shazam”. Get Smart director Peter Segal was attached to direct, while Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in talks to play the villainous Black Adam. John August worked on the initial script, but was later replaced by Geoff Johns and Bill Birch. Of course, the movie never happened.
Speaking with Coming Soon while promoting his new film, Grudge Match, Segal looks back on the Shazam movie. He said that it looked like it was going to happen after Superman Returns was released in 2006, but doesn’t see it being made anytime soon. “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.”
Segal was then asked about the tone, and whether or not it would have been family-friendly. “Well, it wasn’t. 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.” To read Coming Soon’s full interview with the director, click the link above.
Shazam has seen a rise in popularity since his New 52 introduction last year. Becoming a part of the Justice League and the “Trinity War” crossover event, the character is also replacing Aquaman in the upcoming animated film Justice League: War, which adapts the New 52 origin story arc of the team. So, it wouldn’t be surprising if he made it to the big or small screen in the near future. And with the DC Cinematic Universe expanding, Shazam needs to appear in a future movie.