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DC Comics’ Shazam Probably Isn’t Getting A Movie And It’s All Superman’s Fault

Not all white dudes with black hair and superpowers are the same, guys. GEEZ. On the bright side, at least there’s another superhero who won’t be getting their own movie before Wonder Woman premieres in live-action on the big screen. 

Speaking with about his latest film, Grudge Match, director Peter Segal was asked about his past development of the DC Comics character Shazam (previously Captain Marvel). He was definitely working on it at one point but says the time may have past.

The thing is, Shazam has always lived a 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.

I can see where he’s coming from, their power sets are close, but Superman and Shazam have very different backstories. Shazam, as most know him, is the adult, superpowered, alter ego of a young human named Billy Batson. One day he’s chosen by a wizard (named Shazam) and is granted the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury. And yes, that spells out Shazam. Batson is able to summon these powers (and turn into adult form) by shouting the name to the sky.

The child-into-superhero story seems like box office gold to me but Segal told Coming Soon it wouldn’t have necessarily been “kid friendly.”

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.

What do you think about the Superman/Shazam comparisons and what that would mean to movie-goers?

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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  • Anonymous

    The same people who think Superman and Shazam are the same are the same people who say Wonder Woman is a female clone of Big Blue.

  • Anonymous

    Shazam just can’t catch a break. I remember the last time the movie got stalled, the director said it was because Speed Race bombed while the Dark Knight and the increasingly dark Harry Potter films were doing gangbusters, and thus WB decided that meant nobody wanted to see a kiddie superhero movie.

    As for the comparisons, I definitely get why people would be worried about the general public thinking of Shazam as too similar (since he admittedly was a Superman knock-off) but that’s nothing that can’t be fixed by the trailers and marketing highlighting the differences.

  • Rob Payne

    Make it animated, like The Incredibles. Except, not by Pixar, whoever does Warner Bros.’ CG kid flicks. And it should be a children’s movie, because Captain Marvel/Shazam doesn’t need to be gritty to work.

    On that note, Pixar should be making a Frankling Richards: Boy Genius animated movie right now. Wait, no, he’s probably with Fox, isn’t he, with the rest of the Fantastic Four? This is why we can’t have nice things.

  • Charlie

    You just have to watch the justice league unlimited cartoon to see how different they can be portrayed. This is a bit silly.

  • Anonymous

    You can’t do a Shazam movie before a Wonder Woman movie; you just can’t! The character has Greek mythology embedded in his origin story. Since Wonder Woman also has that mythology embedded in hers and she’s the most famous of the two, she should get her movie first.

    And I don’t think Shazam’s power are that similar to Superman’s, although their looks are the same. The hood costume they used in the video game Injustice is one of the few costumes of that game that didn’t suck.

  • locuas

    i think if they can make a tv series about Green Arrow, in which you can use THE EXACT SAME ARGUMENT against it only replacing Superman with Batman, they can make a movie about Captain Marvel.

  • AverageDrafter

    Just make a Crisis movie with 2 Supermen, Superboy Prime, Shazam, two Wonder Women (Jamie Alexander fans, you’d get your shot!), all of the Green Lanterns (even the planet one), all the Flashes (Jay Garrick, I love the helmet man!) and throw in a couple of Elseworlds Batmen in there for good measure.

    Actually, the Wayne Enterprises satellite from MOS and the description of Affleck’s Batman “controlling drones from the Batcave” gave me a major Brother Eye/OMAC Project vibe. Combine with Tower of Babel and mix furiously. Now that would be bad-to-the-ass.

  • Mina

    You know, really his powers and where they come from is more similar to Wonder Woman than Superman, but I can see how the general public might just think it’s a Superman knock-off (I mean, he kind of WAS a Superman knock-off). Still though, I think the whole aspect of him actually being a kid would put a totally different spin on things and could really make a fun movie if done right.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Considering how doubtful I am about Marvel airing both strange and stark given their similar physical appearances (even if their powers are totally different) i cannot say im much surprised.
    On the other hand, I see Shazam more as that sort of superhero just perfect for an all out animated blockbuster over a live action thingy. If Disney controlled DC, I can garantee we would be seeing them playing with this character. (Like their upcoming big hero 6)
    Gosh….I wonder what it would be like if Marvel and DC were under one wing…

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Hmm…On that note, I just remembered that Franklins supposed to be some sorta mutant…Thats a fun thing for Fox to have the rights too on top of x-men.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    That said, I for one think Wonder Woman is more fun when they emphasize her more gadgety abilities. (the lasso, the tiara, the bracelets…) Over an emphasis over super strength, speed, durability and flight

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget Diana is also a masterful athlete, acrobat, fighter and strategist, trained and experienced in many ancient and modern forms of armed and unarmed combat, including exclusively Amazonian martial arts.

    Her skills are so great Batman even said she was the best melee fighter in the world.

  • Lilian Bobadilla

    We would probably get better quality live action DC movies, instead of just good Animated ones.

  • Lilian Bobadilla

    I know, actually all of the DC characters have been handle better in their animated universe than in their live action ones, which is really sad if you think about.

  • Lilian Bobadilla

    She is a better Batman than Superman, for the most part Superman only relies in his strength so when you take that away from him he is basically useless.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    I think its all a matter of the studio. The Timm films were quite marvelous but they were still working on a limited budget. If they could work with the kind of talent and resources a Disney movie gets, I have little doubt it would be an animated film ranking even higher than man of steel.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    All very true. Which is why its annoying when she gets in the hands of someone who forgets all of that and only uses the most straight forward and simplest aspects of her powerset. The abilities that cause people to think ‘Superman’ with her.

    Though admittedly im a big fan of the silver age less violent more PG fare with comics and prefer lasso twirling Wonder Woman over sword swinging head cleaving wonder woman ^^;

  • Anonymous

    I agree about her current constant use of a sword – I’m a huge fan of Bruce Timm’s take on her.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    I hate to disagree but his powers are the last thing that make Superman great.

    This is a character who talks suicidal victims down instead of trying to force them.
    Someone who during a period when he lost his powers, ran into a burning building to save a trapped child.

    A character who in one storyline, discovered Captain Marvel was a poor kid trying to live up to the responsability bestowed upon him by Shazam, punched his way into a magical universe and proceeded to chew the ass off a jerk who could have probably filleted him with one spell. After which he took it upon himself to tutor Billy and emphasize that he should never feel forced to give up his childhood to do what is right.

    On top of that, even without powers he is a good 6’8 and could probably lift a good 250 lbs with little trouble.

    Plus, he does have a degree in journalism and actually rivals Lois when it comes to selling a good story.

    Though I do agree that Wonder Woman bears more similarities to Batman than Superman. In alot of respects, especially in her earlierish works, she came off as someone who fought crime using enchanted objects and martial arts over a ‘ill barrel through with my fists and rightousnss!’ sort.

  • Anonymous

    The reason why Diana is part of the DC Comics Trinity is because she shares similarities to Batman & Superman yet at the same time she’s is her own person as well.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    To toss in my own two cents, those similarities she shares with Batman and Superman that make her so great and important (Unlike Green Arrow and Captain Marvel who have similarities yet arn’t a part of the trinity) are more of a characterness and integrity sorta thing. Considering at one point in the comics they go so far as to establish her as the spiritual embodiment of truth, its a fair bet that they want to establish their trinity as paragons of virtue.

    It helps though that in some ways, Wonder Woman is DC’s gateway into the mystical and mythical. I don’t have the numbers to back it up but I am willing to bet that magic and the mystical shows up more often in Wonder Womans comics than anywhere else in DC.

  • Skol Troll

    Sometimes I wonder if Hollywood isn’t so much misogynistic, sexist or racist as they are FLAT OUT STUPID.

    Seriously, stop giving them credit for even thinking BAD thoughts, as they seem wholly incapable of thought, period.

  • frodobatmanvader

    Of all of their films that would have benefited most from a Disney-level budget, All-Star Superman would have ended up as the most beautiful and poignant, in my opinion.

  • frodobatmanvader

    Amen. At his heart, Batman deals with Horror/Noir (have you seen his rogues gallery? They’re SCARY), while Superman is VERY Sci-Fi. Which means Wonder Woman being Fantasy/Myth is perfect fit.

  • frodobatmanvader

    They could have kept their cake after eating it if they had gotten Alfonso Cuaran’s attention. Adept at more innocent, youth-centric films like A Little Prince and Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban? Check. Equally adept at dark and “gritty” subject matter like Children of Men or Gravity? Check.

    He could have (and still could) make a dark and gritty movie that ultimately upholds the integrity of the main character’s innocence.

    …Man, now I want to live in a universe where that totally happened.

  • thebravestheart

    There are PLENTY of great reasons not to make a Shazam movie that have nothing to do with Superman.

  • Nuuni Nuunani

    Gosh that would have been epic.

  • hariman

    What the hell DC?! You have a movie that proves that DC superheros can sell a movie, you have a character with a complete different origin than superman, who rivals superman, and you’re NOT looking forward to a potential Crossover with Superman and Shazam fighting villains (and possibly each other) and discussing why Superman both regrets and doesn’t regret killing Zod?!

    What. The. Hell.

    DC, you are run by shortsighted fools.

  • Kendal Chandler

    I don’t see why it’s so hard to do. There are so many bad movies out there, as well as bad television series. Their powers are similar, but their stories are completely different. I think it’s further testimony to the fact that our movie industry is so lame any more. They can make a Three Stooges Movie, a Transformers movie (or two), or even that terrible Green Lantern Movie, but Shazam is too hard or risky for them. BS.