Zachary Levi talks 'Shazam!' future after DC shake-up: 'I'll keep playing this role as long as I can'
With James Gunn unveiling a new direction for the DC Universe, the superhero series faces an uncertain outlook after this month's "Fury of the Gods" sequel.
For his next adventure, Shazam is dealing with the Fury of the Gods — but it’s the Fates the myth-based character might be more worried about. The Zachary Levi-starring series appears to be facing an uncertain future in the wake of a recent much-ballyhooed shake-up at Warner Bros. and DC Studios.
After being tapped to revamp WB's profitable but maddeningly inconsistent superhero slate, James Gunn and Peter Safran laid out their early vision for the DC universe last month. That included two Batman films and big-screen DC Universe debuts from Supergirl and Swamp Thing. But conspicuously absent were any plans around such legacy movie franchises as Aquaman, Black Adam and Shazam!
While it might seem they could be in jeopardy, Levi, however, sounded upbeat and cautiously optimistic in discussing the future of Billy Batson and friends with Yahoo Entertainment on Tuesday ahead of the upcoming sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods.
"This whole industry is constantly shifting. This world is constantly shifting," Levi tells us. "I think James Gunn and Peter Safran are gonna be great leaders and I think they have great ideas and I'm just trusting whatever their vision is.
"As far as Shazam! is concerned, we got to make a sequel because enough people saw the first one. So if enough people go and see this one, then we'll get to make another one. I hope, you know? I don't see anything standing in the way of that. As a franchise we have kind of been doing our own thing, anyway. We weren't really tied to a lot of what already existed. So as long as they see fit to want to keep making Shazam! movies, and it's right for me in my life, I'll keep playing this role as long as I can."
Zachary Levi talks future of Shazam in the wake of DC shakeup.
"I'm just trusting whatever their vision is... If enough people go and see this one, then we'll get to make another one. I hope, you know?
"I'll keep playing this role as long as I can.” pic.twitter.com/DDz0vkUaO5
— Kevin Polowy (@djkevlar) March 1, 2023
Levi’s comments come shortly after he attempted to squash rumors that DC might recast him in the lead role should the franchise move forward. "I really wouldn't go believing everything you see on the internet," he responded to a supportive fan.
Gunn, meanwhile, stressed that social media uproar over recent comments Levi made about the pharmaceutical industry would not factor into any of their decisions. "I can't be changing my plans all the time because an actor says something that I don't agree with," Gunn said. (Levi has not commented since his Jan. 29 tweet.)
Released in April 2019, Levi's first Shazam! adventure was a box-office success. The Big-like superhero comedy about a teenage boy living in foster care (played by Asher Angel) who's granted the power to transform into a god-like adult superhero earned $366 million at the worldwide box office from a budget estimated between $80 million and $100 million.
It also scored with critics, netting a 90% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes — the second highest rating of any DCEU film behind the 2017 mega-hit Wonder Woman.
With David O. Sandberg returning to direct, Fury of the Gods finds Billy (Angel/Levi) now leading a full team of superheroes — his foster siblings were transformed into crimefighters at the end of the first film — in a high-stakes battle against the invading gods known as the Daughters of Atlas (Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler).
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the sequel is tracking for "low-key" $35 million-$40 million opening weekend as of three weeks ahead of its release. (The first film, by comparison, opened to $53 million.)
One advantage the series might hold in the still-evolving DC Studios sweepstakes: Like 2019's Shazam!, the lead producer on Fury of the Gods is Gunn's co-chief, Peter Safran.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods opens March 17.
Watch the trailer: