James Gunn Corrects Fans About 'Shazam' And 'Captain Marvel'

When news broke that Zachary Levi is playing DC Comics hero Shazam in David F. Sandberg's upcoming film some were surprised by Levi's claim that Shazam was the "original Captain Marvel." Now, one of Marvel Studios' directors is backing Levi's claim.

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn isn't just a filmmaker. He's also a lifelong comics fan so when people began questioning Levi's comments, accusing the actor of either not understanding comics or disrespecting Marvel, Gunn had no trouble setting the record straight. Gunn took to Twitter to explain that Shazam really is the original Captain Marvel and that Levi’s comments weren’t meant to be negative. They are simply the facts of comic book history.

If you aren’t aware of the story behind the Captain Marvel name, it’s not exactly straightforward. While the history can get a little complicated, the nuts and bolts is that before either DC Comics or Marvel Comics existed -- at least in the way we know them know -- Bill Parker and C.C. Beck created Billy Batson, the boy who transformed into a hero by saying "shazam" for Fawcett Comics. The character, called Captain Marvel, ended up in some legal limbo when the future DC Comics, National Comics, felt Captain Marvel was too much like Superman. By the time the legal dust settled, Marvel had already trademarked their own "Captain Marvel" character which forced DC -- who had by now licensed all of Fawcett's characters -- to rename Billy Batson's hero Shazam.

But For those who still think Levi could be throwing shade at Marvel by bringing up this tidbit of comic book history, fans don't need to take Gunn's word for it. Levi has already appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He most recently appeared in Thor: Ragnarok as Fandral, one of the Asgardian soldiers the Warrior's Three.

Shazam! is set to hit theaters April 2019.