Zachary Levi, who plays the title character in DC's upcoming superhero movie Shazam!, already has some experience in the live-action superhero realm.
Besides a role on the NBC series Heroes Reborn, Levi played Fandral, one of the Warriors Three, in two different Thor movies in 2013 and 2017. His final Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance, in Thor: Ragnraok, was a notoriously short-lived one, and left some fans thinking the character deserved better. While he can see their point, Levi instead chooses to focus on the positive fallout from Fandral's death.
"When I got cast as Fandral in the first one, though I wasn't able to do it, I knew that the Warriors Three could be really fun characters if they ever developed them but they just didn't," Levi admitted. "They didn't in the first one, they didn't really in The Dark World. It's not to say that there wasn't some moments that were shot that weren't used ultimately in the movie."
Levi suggested that even in Thor: Ragnarok, there was more to the story than what fans ultimately saw.
"Even when I got killed, there was more to that scene," he said. "Granted maybe 30 seconds more, like a line here, a line there, kill, kill, you're dead. But I knew Fandral could be fodder, would be fodder, I don't know. Unless Marvel really wanted to be like, 'And we want every single character we've ever seen, particularly demi-gods come on, to be able to be a part of Avengers.' But then the truth is, to be honest, if let's say Fandral was still alive and let's say they had me to be in the Avengers, I'd probably be sitting in Atlanta for three months doing almost nothing while everyone else [worked]...and then they'd be, 'Okay now we're ready for you and you guys go in.' And then we'd get killed then. So the way it all worked out is it exactly the way it was supposed to."
That is not to say that Levi would not have liked to see more of, and do more with, Fandral. He just had a pragmatic approach to the role.
"Yeah, it would've been cool that Fandral got more to do. Dude, what a fun character," Levi said. "Errol Flynn, Viking, space god, ladies man. Come on. That's all fun. So yeah that was a little bit of a bummer b-- ut looking back, if I didn't die, I might still be under contract with Marvel and I never would've been able to get this job. And I say f--k that. This is the coolest thing ever, I'm so happy that I got to do it. And being able to like literally just jumpstart my life and I'm healthier and stronger and happier than I've ever been in my life."
As an actor, Levi said, even while the Fandral character might have been almost as fun as Shazam, there is something to be said for playing a character who cannot easily be reduced to a thirty-second casualty.3comments
"If you're looking at the titular role of a movie, I don't think you're as afraid that you're dispensable, you know what I mean?" He confessed.
Shazam! hits theaters on April 5, 2019. Other upcoming DC films include Joker on October 10, 2019, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, and Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020.