EXCLUSIVE: Shazam faces off against big bad Doctor Sivana in new images from the DCEU's next superhero film

Zachary Levi as Shazam
(Image credit: Warner Bros)

With standalone superhero movie Aquaman currently storming the worldwide box office, the DC Extended Universe’s next film is already on the horizon, and like Aquaman, it has fun at the top of its agenda.

Shazam! will introduce moviegoers to a new a hero from the DCEU, and will do so with a childlike sense of wonder. Not least because the lead character is actually a child. Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is a teenage foster kid who is gifted the ability to turn into adult superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) when he says the magic word of the title. So imagine the Tom Hanks movie Big crossed with Superman, and you get the idea.

You can take a look at Batson (in the form of his supersuited alter ego Shazam) in the exclusive images below, courtesy of our sister publication Total Film magazine. Here Shazam faces off against his nemesis Doctor Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong) and hangs out with his friend and foster brother Freddy Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer). Check them out below:

Zachary Levi and Mark Strong in Shazam!

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

Jack Dylan Grazer and Zachary Levi in Shazam!

(Image credit: Warner Bros)

In the film, Shazam will have to come to terms with his powers in order to stop Sivana… if he can get serious and stop enjoying the fun aspects of being a superhero for long enough, that is. If there’s ever been a superhero who’s really going to enjoy their powers, it's Shazam, and hopefully that joy is going to shared by the audience.

“The goal is to make Shazam! feel like, in some ways, that fun ’80s movie, like John Hughes or Back to the Future,” director David F. Sandberg (Lights Out, Annabelle: Creation) tells Total Film. “It’s just one of those movies that hopefully you’ll want to see over and over again. And also, it takes place at Christmas. It’s one of those where you go, ‘Oh, let’s watch this every Christmas!' Hopefully.”

Read more

All the upcoming DC Extended Universe movies on the way

It seems as if they’ve found the perfect star to channel the character’s boyish enthusiasm in Levi. “He’s not bummed out, going, ‘Darn it, I have to save the world… again,’” says Levi. “He’s going, ‘I GET TO SAVE THE WORLD AGAIN!’”

And while Shazam! is set to be a standalone story for now, it does exist within the extended DC universe (Freddy is a big fan of Batman and Superman) so there's potential for Shazam to team up with the Justice League in future instalments. “That would be amazing!” says Levi. “Shazam would fit. The person he’d be closest to is The Flash because of their youth and humour. And we’ve gotta have Shazam and Superman interactions. They’re, like, the same, but totally different...”

Shazam! opens in the US and the UK on April 5, and you can read much more about it in the new issue of Total Film magazine, which hits shelves this Friday, January 11. For much more from Sandberg, Levi, Strong and co, plus on-set access, check it out.

(Image credit: Warner Bros/Total Film)

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(Image credit: Total Film)
Matt Maytum
Deputy Editor, Total Film

I'm the Deputy Editor at Total Film magazine, looking after the long-form features there, and generally obsessing over all things Nolan, Kubrick and Pixar. Over the past decade I've worked in various roles for TF online and in print, including at GamesRadar+, and you can often hear me nattering on the Inside Total Film podcast. Bucket-list-ticking career highlights have included reporting from the set of Tenet and Avengers: Infinity War, as well as covering Comic-Con, TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival.