Shazam 2 director talks DC sequel: "You need great villains for a great superhero movie"

Shazam! Fury of the Gods
(Image credit: Warner Bros/DC)

"The gods are furious," Shazam 2 director David F. Sandberg tells Total Film (opens in new tab) in the new issue of the magazine, featuring Oppenheimer on the cover. "You know, Shazam gets his powers from gods, and it turns out those powers were actually stolen. So now these gods are heading to Earth to get revenge on humans."

Sprinkling some mythology into his comic-books source, Sandberg has done away with Mark Strong’s villain Dr. Sivana for second installment Shazam! Fury Of The Gods, and instead has Shazam (Zachary Levi) facing off against the daughters of Atlas, Hespera (Helen Mirren), and Kalypso (Lucy Liu). But as we know from the end of the first movie, it’s not just Billy (Asher Angel) who can Shazam shit up – his whole family now has superpowers, meaning the vengeful gods have an almighty scrap on their hands.

"It’s still Shazam’s movie but it’s also about the family," says Sandberg. "They’ve all been superheroes for a while now, trying to stop crime and save people. But they’re not very good at it. The city has dubbed them the Philly Fiascos."

And the gods? "You need great villains for a great superhero movie. It was interesting that we landed on these mythological characters. It felt like something new for fans. We said from the start we should aim really high. We said, ‘We should get someone on the level of, like, Helen Mirren.’ And then we tried reaching out to her and she said ‘yes’ straight away. It was like, ‘Holy shit! We actually got Helen Mirren.’ Then we went to Lucy Liu and she said ‘yes’. They bring so much to the parts."

There’s a third daughter, played by West Side Story’s Rachel Zegler, but Sandberg is keeping schtum about her. The trailer suggests she might well take Shazam and fam’s side against her sisters, but the director says, "That remains to be seen."

For more on Shazam! Fury Of The Gods, pick up a copy of Total Film's 2023 Preview issue, fronted by Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer. You can pre-order here (opens in new tab), and the magazine will be available in shops and on digital newsstands from Thursday, December 15. And the print version of this new issue comes with a special 52-page supplement counting down the best films, must-see moments, and breakout stars of 2022.

Total Film's 2023 Preview and Review of the Year 2022

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Editor-at-Large, Total Film

Jamie Graham is the Editor-at-Large of Total Film magazine. You'll likely find them around these parts reviewing the biggest films on the planet and speaking to some of the biggest stars in the business – that's just what Jamie does. Jamie has also written for outlets like SFX and the Sunday Times Culture, and appeared on podcasts exploring the wondrous worlds of occult and horror.