Zachary Levi on Shazam! Fury of the Gods and his character being DC’s answer to Deadpool

Shazam 2 Easter egg
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Shazam! Fury of the Gods sees Zachary Levi back as the titular character in the sequel to the 2019 superhero movie Shazam!. And this time around, as glimpsed in the Shazam! 2 trailers, it’s all about family. That’s the operative word behind Shazam! Fury Of The Gods, a DC blockbuster that not only makes a compelling case for the superiority of exclamation marks over colons in movie titles but which also pits Billy Batson and his superpowered clan against a sisterhood of goddesses. And you thought Christmas was a crossfire of family dynamics…

Levi tells SFX Magazine in the latest issue of the magazine, which features The Mandalorian season 3 on the cover, that he’s thrilled to be back. "Quite frankly he’s one of the most interesting and entertaining characters in comicdom, because most heroes are adults and they’re mature and they’re brooding and all of these things," he explains. "Very few of them get to balance that with the fact that they’re actually a kid and they’re still learning how to drive, let alone be a superhero. That paradox creates such a really fun, interesting, enjoyable sandbox to play in."

The DCU has undergone some big changes with new DC Studios heads James Gunn and Peter Safran sharing their new plan for Chapter One: Gods and Monsters. For Levi, however, Shazam holds a very important spot in the DC cinematic universe. "I love that we get to be the most subversive of all the DC characters, almost like the Deadpool of DC," he adds. "Deadpool gets to sit outside of it and comment on it all and have fun with it all – obviously in a more R-rated, mature way. We do the same thing, just a little more family-friendly!"

For director David F Sandberg, returning to the realm of capes after 2019’s Shazam!, the sequel lets them delve into that character even more. "In a lot of movies the whole character journey is like, 'Oh, they’re missing this thing in their life' and then at the end of the movie they get what they’re missing," he tells SFX Magazine. "So then in a sequel you often have to take that away and start from scratch again. 

"In this one, it’s pretty interesting because in the first film what Billy really wants in life is a family and he gets a family at the end. Now they’re getting older, and they’re getting older very quickly, so they’re not going to be able to live in a foster home forever. So Billy is very concerned about losing this family that he’s just found. He’s trying to keep them all together."

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The cover of SFX 363 and some of the features inside.

(Image credit: Future)

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is out in theaters on March 17, 2023. That's just a snippet of our interview, available in the latest issue of SFX Magazine with The Mandalorian season 3 on the cover, available on newsstands now! For even more from SFX, sign up to the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.

Nick Setchfield
Editor-at-Large, SFX Magazine

Nick Setchfield is the Editor-at-Large for SFX Magazine, writing features, reviews, interviews, and more for the monthly issues. However, he is also a freelance journalist and author with Titan Books. His original novels are called The War in the Dark, and The Spider Dance. He's also written a book on James Bond called Mission Statements. 

With contributions from