Actress Helen Mirren attends the screening of 'Girls Of The Sun (Les Filles Du Soleil)' during the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival at Palais des Festivals on May 12, 2018 in Cannes, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
(Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

Here’s Your First Look at Helen Mirren as Hespera in Shazam! Fury of the Gods

The Academy award winning actor joins the cast of the DC film.
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Helen Mirren is living her best life. The Academy Award-winning actor has been having a blast in larger, more commercial fare like Hobbes and Shaw and F9: The Fast Saga. Now, she is set to make her entry into the superhero genre with the upcoming Shazam! sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Here’s the first look at Mirren as the goddess Hespera:

Mirren plays Hespera, daughter of Atlas, and sister to Kalypso (Lucy Liu) and West Side Story star Rachel Zegler, whose character name has yet to be revealed. And while Hespera is an original creation for the film, she will no doubt draw on the Greek mythology already present in Shazam’s world. After all, Shazam himself is endowed with “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.”

These three women will likely make up the Hesperides, nymphs of evening and golden light of sunsets, who were the “Daughters of the Evening” or “Nymphs of the West”. The Hesperides also tended and guarded the garden where the highly coveted golden apples grow. The Hesperides are not necessarily good or evil, although it seems that the sequel is positioning them as the Big Bad.

We still don’t know how/if the Hesperides have any connection to Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong), who we last saw in a mid-credits scene, where the imprisoned villain is approached by talking caterpillar Mr. Mind, who proposes an alliance. Given that a telepathic worm is not the most compelling villain, I’m curious to see how Mirren, Liu, and Zegler will factor into the film.

While details around the film remain under wraps, it’s still exciting to see Mirren in full Grecian goddess warrior garb. The superhero genre (like every other film genre) is not welcoming to older women, so it’s thrilling to see Mirren as an intimidating baddie. Women over 40 can play more roles than just Aunt May, and it’s time that the genre expands past the traditional ageist limits to give us a kickass older woman.

Casting Helen Mirren to play a scenery-chewing villain is an inspiring choice, as no one commands the scene quite like her. Shazam! quickly set itself apart from the rest of the DCEU with its bright color palette and sense of humor, and I can’t wait to see Mirren go toe-to-toe with Zachary Levi’s goofy, warmhearted Shazam. The sequel will also presumably set up the upcoming Black Adam movie, starring Mirren’s Hobbes & Shaw co-star Dwayne Johnson.

Director David F. Sandberg also got ahead of the leak game by, well, leaking the rest of the new Shazam! costumes himself. The whole stunning cast looks incredible and happy to be there. Apart from Zachary Levi’s Shazam, we see Adam Brody’s Freddy Freeman, Meagan Good’s Darla Dudley, Ross Butler’s Eugene Choi, Michelle Borth’s Mary Bromfield, and D.J. Cotrona’s Pedro Peña.

Now if only Hollywood would give us a May-December romantic comedy starring Mirren and Johnson. Give the people what they want!

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is scheduled to be released on June 2, 2023.

(image: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)

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Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.