James Gunn Confirms Shazam! Star Zachary Levi Was Almost Cast as Star-Lord

Before Chris Pratt, there was a world where Zach Levi was in the running to play Star-Lord. Believe it or not, the Shazam! star had caught the eye of filmmaker James Gunn before the latter ultimately settled on Pratt. The news first circulated through the Hollywood trades years ago and Gunn just confirmed the reports in a fan Q&A on his Instagram Story Sunday morning. After Marvel passed on recasting Levi — who had brief roles in Thor and Thor: The Dark World — Gunn then recommended the actor to Warner Brothers producer Peter Safran.

"Yes. And he was amazing," Gunn confirms of Levi's potential casting in the Guardians franchise. "So when Peter Safran, the producer of Shazam, came to me asking about who would be good as the character I strongly suggested Zach. I've been told by Peter and the DC folks that's what got the ball rolling. But I think it was #zacharylevi's immense talent that did that."

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(Photo: James Gunn)

Before long, Levi responded on his own Instagram Story, thanking the filmmaker for his role in the casting process. "And brother, it means the absolute world," Levi wrote. "Thanks for seeing that in me, and sharing that conviction with others. It helped literally change my life. I hope we get to work together at some point soon."

As you read this, Gunn's currently working on The Suicide Squad for Warner Brothers, a vast overhaul of the villain-starring franchise launched by David Ayer. Levi will soon get to work on Shazam! 2, a movie he thinks is well deserved after he feels the first movie did "f---ing great" at the box office.

“I’ve seen some of this stuff bandied about on the interwebs, and people saying that if you look at the numbers that we did as a movie, that it pales in comparison to some other movies that did insane amounts. But the truth is, for an origin story of a niche DC character, I think we did f—ing great,” Levi said at FAN EXPO Canada when asked about Shazam’s modest box office take. “I think we did really good.”

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Both Guardians of the Galaxy movies can be streamed on Disney+ while Shazam! is available wherever movies are sold.

What other characters in the MCU would you like to see Zach Levi play? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or by tweeting me at @AdamBarnhardt!