Zachary Levi spoke out for the first time yesterday about being cast as Shazam in the upcoming DC Films movie, but in addition to sharing his excitement about the role the actor's choice of words have some wondering if he also just threw a little shade at Marvel.
The actor took to Instagram where he shared an image from popular artist BossLogic that transformed him into what he might look like as Shazam. Levi used the post to share how "honored and greatly humbled" he is to be playing the role as well as how he would also be working hard to prepare for the role. However, in addition to his gratitude and work ethic, Levi also made a reference to Shazam as being "the original Captain Marvel" that could be a subtle shot at Marvel.
Honored and greatly humbled to be a part of the #dcuniverse by bringing the original Captain Marvel to life. I am beside myself with gratitude, not only for this opportunity, but also the incredible outpouring of love and support from so many of you out there in the world. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the gym for the rest of forever. 🙏 (amazingly cool art courtesy of @bosslogic) #Shazam
For those not familiar with the complicated history of the name "Captain Marvel," here is a brief explanation. In 1939 C.C. Beck and Bill Parker created the character Captain Marvel for Fawcett Comics' Whiz Comics title. The character was much as we know him today, the alter ego of young Billy Batson who is able to transform into the costumed adult hero by uttering the magic word SHAZAM! The character became the most popular superhero of the 1940s, even outselling National Comics' (now DC Comics) Superman.
However, in 1953 Fawcett stopped publishing Captain Marvel-related comics following a copyright infringement suit from National alleging that Captain Marvel was a copy of Superman. Later, in 1972, DC licensed the Marvel Family from Fawcett. However, by that time Marvel Comics had their own Captain Marvel character so DC published their Captain Marvel book under the title Shazam!. When DC publisher Carmine Infantino attempted to subtitle the Shazam! book as The Original Captain Marvel, Marvel Comics hit DC with a cease and desist letter. Eventually, fans became to so closely associate DC's Captain Marvel with the name "Shazam!" that the character eventually adopted that name while Marvel Comics continued using the "Captain Marvel" name.
Now, of course, Captain Marvel -- the Marvel Comics version -- is getting a lot of buzz. The Marvel heroine will appear in her own, standalone Marvel Cinematic Universe installment starring Brie Larson currently slated for a March 8, 2019 release date. With Shazam! set to open just a month later on April 5, 2019, Levi's comment might just be a nod not only to the character's interesting publication history but also a reminder that when spring 2019 there will be two Captain Marvels gracing the silver screen.
Here's to hoping that there's room for both Marvel's Carol Danvers and DC's Billy Batson/Shazam when the superheroes debut in 2019.