Four years after he landed in theaters for the first time, Zachary Levi’s Shazam returns in the sequel Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which is now playing in theaters worldwide. While Shazam movies are good for their own cause, this franchise might have a problem because it’s part of the cinematic universe that is constantly changing its course and still trying to find the right path where it wants to go, and that might create a problem for the potential future appearances of Shazam and his family.
The original Shazam movie was released in 2019, and the sequel, Fury of the Gods, now plays in theaters. While fans are gathering their thoughts and the studio is counting the box-office money, this latest installment of the soon-to-be-ended DC Extended Universe still left some doors open for the future of Shazam on the big screen. But with everything going on around the DC Studios, with DCEU officially ending after this year and DCU starting as the soft reboot in 2025, Shazam’s future is now under the question mark. So, the main question today is, will there be a third Shazam movie?
At the time of writing this, Shazam 3 isn’t officially announced, nor it’s known that it’s in early development. James Gunn, the co-CEO of DC Studios, recently revealed the first projects set in the new DCU, which will start with Superman: Legacy in 2025, but he also teased that many more projects will be revealed soon. DCU will introduce new actors for some of the most known heroes, like Batman and Superman, but some other actors from the DCEU are somewhat expected to return to their roles in this new cinematic universe. It’s unknown what will happen with the actors that still have the possible chance to continue playing their roles, and that doesn’t only bring Shazam 3 under question but also the entire future of Zachary Levi as Shazam.
While some actors officially left the franchise and their roles will be recast in DCU, some actors, like Levi, Gal Gadot, and Jason Momoa, have remained in WB and DC’s good graces even after all the problems with the Justice League movie and everything that happened afterward. It’s unknown what will happen to them once DCU officially starts. Will they be just scapegoats that will be sacrificed for that new cinematic universe, or will they get a chance to continue playing the roles in which the audiences received them with open hands?
Shazam is a part of DCEU; is that a problem for him?
DCEU started in 2013 with Man of Steel, directed by Zack Snyder. Snyder’s initial vision included the build-up towards the Justice League movie, two sequels of it, and a couple of solo movies. But we all remember how things fell apart when he had to leave the production of Justice League because of personal tragedy, and the studio brought Joss Whedon, who reshot the majority of the movie and released the theatrical cut that received mixed to negative reviews and was a box-office bomb.
Following the large fans’ campaign on social media, Zack Snyder got a chance to release his director’s cut on HBOMax in 2021, but by then, the studio already took a new course with DCEU, focusing more on solo movies after Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam, were all well received. James Gunn also directed The Suicide Squad, which was better received than the original Suicide Squad movie. After WarnerMedia and Discovery, Inc. were merged into Warner Bros. Discovery in 2022, the new CEO David Zaslav was appointed, and he promised changes with WB’s most popular franchises.
James Gunn and Peter Safran were named co-CEOs of newly founded DC Studios, which will have the creative control over the new cinematic universe, while Matt Reeves and Todd Phillips were allowed to make the sequels for The Batman and Joker outside of it. But, the DCEU is still nearing its end. After Shazam Fury of the Gods, only three DCEU movies are left to be released; The Flash, Blue Beetle, Aquaman, and the Lost Kingdom. Now, the question is, why should anyone care for these movies if they’re a part of the dying franchise?
James Gunn has already stated that the DCEU movies that are left to be released are still important for the upcoming DCU, but fans do not feel that way. Shazam Fury of the Gods had two-post credit scenes that might’ve teased the future for this character as a part of DCU, but we still don’t know about DCU enough to really trust any teases for the future that DC movies are giving us now.
The main problem is that fans of the superhero genre aren’t going to see the movies for the movie, they’re going to see how the movie is building up the next step in the cinematic universe, and therefore we don’t believe that people will run to watch Shazam knowing that there’s a chance we won’t see him again on the big screen. It shouldn’t be like that, but unfortunately, it is. We can only wait to see the box-office results for Fury of the Gods and hope it will be enough for Gunn and Safran to decide that Shazam has a future in their DCU.
Will Zachary Levi play Shazam in DCU?
Levi’s performance as Shazam has been widely praised in both the original movie and the sequel. However, last year we watched Black Adam starring Dwayne Johnson, the spin-off movie which was supposed to set up the meeting and battle between Shazam and Black Adam, which was, according to some reports, supposed to happen in Shazam 3. The Black Adam movie also brought back Henry Cavill’s Superman. Still, that return turned out to be nothing after Gunn announced the reboot of Superman (which is another reason why fans don’t trust post-credit scenes and teases anymore).
The Black Adam movie was critically and commercially unsuccessful, suggesting that Dwayne Johnson’s time at DCEU finished before it even began. Shazam Fury of the Gods reportedly had the Superman cameo, which was cut from the movie after Cavill officially said goodbye to the role. The Flash movie will still feature Ben Affleck’s Batman, although it’s known that he won’t play that role in DCU. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman appeared in Fury of the Gods, and the first post-credit scene of Fury of the Gods featured Jennifer Holland as Emilia Harcourt. Fun fact, she is James Gunn’s wife, so maybe Gunn has some plan for Shazam, as suggested by that post-credit scene.
In an interview with Deadline, Levi stated that he believes that Gunn and Safran will keep his Shazam in their new cinematic universe. “I do know that Peter (Safran), who I’ve known for years, and James (Gunn), who I’ve ever known longer, are really excellent leaders. And I trust where they’re going to take all this stuff,” Levi said. Fury of the Gods star Rachel Zegler, who played Anthea in the movie, said: “We’re confident about the future of the franchise.” Henry Gayden, who co-wrote the movie with Chris Morgan, has teased that there have been some talks with Gunn and Safran about bringing Shazam to the big screen again. “Only the most preliminary of conversations; we’re all waiting to see how this movie does and then see if we can tell that story,” Gayden stated.
Ultimately, the box-office result will be the most important thing. The original Shazam movie earned $366 million, which might not seem much, but it was still a success due to the $90-100 million budget. For comparison, Black Adam earned more than the original Shazam, $393 million, but the movie’s budget was twice Shazam’s. Shazam: Fury of the Gods reportedly cost between $100-125 million, which is more than the original Shazam, but a lot less than Black Adam, which increases the chances that Fury of the Gods will achieve much better commercial results than Black Adam. Let’s hope it will be enough for at least one more Shazam movie.