'Shazam!': First Details on Villain's Backstory Revealed

The first trailer for DC's Shazam! movie got a (mostly) enthusiastic respsonse from fans after its San Diego Comic-Con debut, but one element of the film that wasn't explored much in the trailer is the villain, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, who is played by Mark Strong.

Thanks to a new article from EW, we're finally learning more about Dr. Sivana's origin and backstory in Shazam!, which you can check out, below.

According to EW:

"Comic fans already know Sivana is Batson’s arch-nemesis, but there have been different backstories for the character over the years. In Shazam!, 14-year-old orphan Batson is selected by a 3,000-year-old Wizard to inherit his powers due to his pure heart. The film’s version of Sivana also encountered The Wizard as a kid — but he was rejected to receive his powers. Ever since then, Sivana has spent his life searching for a way to gain the abilities that Billy now possesses in a desire to live up to the expectations of a domineering father."

That new origin is a big change from the comics, in which Sivana is depicted as a mad scientist and/or industrialist, who is obsessed with how magic can bridge the gaps where science leaves off. Even the villain's "New 52" reboot was grounded in that idea, with Sivana searching for the Tomb of Black Adam, in hopes of finding a magical cure for the disease that's killing his family.

Here's what director David F. Sandberg told EW regarding Sivana's storyline in the film:

“Mark Strong loves being a bad guy. And it’s not just him, really, it’s … something else … that lent him his powers … he can do some things that Shazam can’t. The danger in some films is the bad guy has the same powers as the good guy. [Sivana] has an extra thing, extra dynamic, that takes care of that….”

Mark Strong Dr Sivana in Shazam by BossLogic

(Photo: BossLogic)

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The new backstory makes sense within the framework of the Shazam! movie, as Sivana represents the dark reflection of Billy Batson's Shazam - in the same way that so many superhero movies like to present their antagonists. However, set photos and official images of Strong as Sivana have revealed that there will be at least one carry-over between the "New 52" and movie continuities: Sivana's lightning-scarred eye. In the comics, the eye allows Dr. Sivana to "see magic"; we can presume the same will be true for the film - and possibly the high cost of using it, as well.

Next up for DC is Aquaman, which lands in theaters on December 21st. Shazam! is slated to hit theaters on April 5, 2019, while Wonder Woman 2 hits theaters on November 1, 2019.