The original Captain Marvel is finally hitting movie screens next April, but you don’t have to wait that long to see for yourself if the Big Red Cheese is ready for the big time — the first trailer for “Shazam!” debuted during the Warner Bros. Hall H Comic-Con panel Saturday morning. And you can watch it here, right now.
Directed by “Lights Out” filmmaker David F. Sandberg from a script by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke, “Shazam!” stars Zachary Levi in the title role, with Asher Angel as Shazam’s alter-ego Billy Batson. Created by C.C. Beck and writer Bill Parker for Fawcett comics in 1940, “Shazam,” originally called “Captain Marvel,” follows the adventures of teenager Billy Batson, who can transform into a full-grown adult superhero with the power of six gods after saying “Shazam!” Think “Big” meets “Batman and Robin.”
Jack Dylan Grazer, Mark Strong, Grace Fulton, Cooper Andrews and Ian Chen also star, with Djimon Hounsou as The Wizard, the powerful mystic who gives Shazam/Billy his powers.
And for those of you asking, yes, he really is the first hero called Captain Marvel, debuting 20 years before Marvel Comics existed as a brand. Fawcett Comics was sued by DC in the early 1950s over claims that “Captain Marvel” ripped off “Superman,” and went temporarily out of business after it agreed never to publish the character’s comics again. However, in 1972 DC licensed “Captain Marvel” from Fawcett and brought the character into the DC universe.
But during the intervening decades, Marvel realized the trademark on the name “Captain Marvel” had lapsed, and introduced its own character of the same name. Which is why, to avoid legal problems, DC called its re-launched comic book “Shazam” and eventually changed the character’s name outright.