After weeks of teases, comments, and debunked rumors, work has finally begun on the Shazam! movie.
The news comes courtesy of Sandberg’s own Instagram account, where he posted a photo of a bare wall geotagged in Warner Bros. Studio in Los Angeles with a simple caption: “Day 1.”
Sandberg's latest movie, Annabelle: Creation, hit theaters a couple weeks ago and he’s been doing the press circuit ever since. During an interview with Collider, the director announced that he wouldn’t be taking any time off after his work on The Conjuring spinoff movie was done and would dive right into pre-production for Shazam!
“Pretty much going into Shazam right away,” Sandberg said. “I mean my life’s just become so weird because I got to do Lights Out and immediately afterward I got to do Annabelle and now I’m going straight into Shazam, so it’s like I’m on a roll so let’s just keep going until they kick me out of Hollywood.”
There is a lot of pre-production work that goes into a movie, especially a superhero movie, before shooting can begin. For starters, they have to find actors to play the roles.
But Sandberg also hinted that shooting dates would likely be announced soon, teasing that “it's coming up.”
The director has to look at casting two actors to play the roles of Billy Batson and Shazam!, a child and an adult respectively. In the comics, Billy is a young boy who gets picked by the wizard Shazam to be his champion; whenever Billy shouts the wizard’s name, he is struck by a magic bolt of lightning that swaps his place with Captain Marvel who is a superhero of immense power.
Recent comics changed up the dynamic, making his name Shazam due to a long-running trademark issue with Marvel Comics and their own Captain Marvel and the confusion that DC Comics has had to deal with since. Billy also becomes Shazam when saying the magic word instead of switching places with him.
Warner Bros. has already cast Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as one of the character’s most famous rogues, the villain/anti-hero Black Adam. But Johnson will be receiving his own movie as the character instead of appearing in the first Shazam movie. The two will likely clash in a sequel should their movies do well enough.
Perhaps Sandberg will be looking for an actor to play Dr. Sivana in this first film, a longtime villain of Captain Marvel’s and a great character to help kickoff the franchise.
Expect to hear more news about the movie as pre-production rolls along.
Shazam! was initially announced to be released on April 5, 2019, but its unclear if the movie will stick to that date at this point.