Helen Mirren is joining DC's Shazam! Fury of the Gods in the villain role of Hespera. The character doesn't have a clear DC Comics counterpart, but is described by The Wrap as "a daughter of Atlas." Atlas is indeed a character in DC Comics lore (as well as Greek Myth), bearing the weight of the heavens on his back. That will inspire plenty of speculation and DC Comics fan-theories as to what could be the larger story behind the casting of an Oscar-heavyweight like Mirren in the Shazam! sequel. Mirren's casting comes on the heels of actress Rachel Zegler also being cast in a pivotal unknown role.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods director David F. Sandberg propped DC fans up for this big reveal during the DC FanDome event last year, when he sort of backhand boasted about what kind of villain Fury of the Gods would be bringing to the table:
"I can't really talk about villains or villain, but I think a lot of people will be surprised," Sandberg said. "It's gonna be a little unexpected."
Shazam! Fury of the Gods will bring back Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his foster family, including Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), Eugene (Ian Chen), Pedro (Jovan Armand), Darla (Faithe Herman), and Mary (Grace Fulton). The sequel has been delayed no less than three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic stalling and stopping its production. Production is now expected to get underway soon, as Sandberg posted the coy call sign to fans, that he's once again binge-drinking his way through the pre-production process:
"If you’re a longtime follower you may be wondering when the traditional stacking of coke cans at the office begins. Well unfortunately I stopped drinking sodas last year so now I only have coconut water and milk. Stacking empty milk cartons didn’t seem like a good idea," Sandberg wrote.
In the first film, the kids were all granted the same superpowers first given to Billy by an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou), transforming them into the adult-sized ShazamFamily (Adam Brody, Butler, D.J. Cotrona, Meagan Good, and Michelle Borth). Zachary Levi is returning as the titular hero. A post-credits scene also revealed a new growing threat when Sivana (Mark Strong) was approached by the fiendish telepathic space-worm Mister Mind. No indications yet if/how that villain alliance from the first film will affect what happens with Helen Mirren's Hespera.
Shazam!: Fury of the Gods is now scheduled to be released in theaters on June 2, 2023.