While Marvel’s major leaguers dominate the news, a few other projects are quietly stocking up on actors for the upcoming superhero vacuum that Infinity War will leave in its wake. OK, maybe not a vacuum since everything’s been planned out until the heat death of the universe, but it certainly reminds us that, yes, things are still churning outside the MCU.
Especially since some of that involves Shazam! The exclamation mark is both part of the title and indicative of excitement since the DC film is adding two new actors to complement Zachary Levi and Asher Angel’s joint depiction of the magical, age-defying hero. First, per Variety, is Ross Butler, who broke out in teen TV like Riverdale, Teen Wolf, and 13 Reasons Why. There’s also an unconfirmed report that Adam Brody (of The O.C. fame) will be joining Butler — but both their characters are tightly under wraps since the heroes and villains (Mark Strong for the latter) have already been announced, so these supporting roles may hint too much at the plot.
In other superhero casting news, Jake Johnson will graduate from perpetual sidekick (whether fighting mummies or dinosaurs) to full-fledged hero as he voices Peter Parker in the upcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Sure, Miles Morales (Dope and The Get Down star Shameik Moore) is the lead character in this Spidey story, but Peter Parker is Peter Parker.
According to reports, the animated film’s new CinemaCon footage gave a taste of Parker and Morales’ conversation — confirming Johnson’s distinctively slacker tones at the same time. Since Johnson is a relatively big name and they showed footage of them talking, this might mean that the film, which was co-written by The LEGO Movie's Phil Lord, might be shaking up the comic plotline in which Morales becomes Spider-Man after witnessing Peter Parker’s death. Will Johnson become super only to die for another? In keeping with the Ultimate universe, it’d have to be yes, but Marvel could be rewriting anything for their animated world.
Finally, speaking of Marvel alums, Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi continues to fill out his fantastical-sounding film Jojo Rabbit. Sam Rockwell — following up on his Oscar-winning role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — will be boarding the project to star alongside Scarlett Johansson.
In the film, a young would-be Nazi named Jojo comes to learn about a Jewish girl hiding in his attic during World War II and, presumably, lose his ideology in the process. Johansson plays the boy’s mother as a secret resistance fighter while Rockwell will be playing the Nazi leader of a Hitler Youth camp. For Waititi’s part, he’ll be playing the boy’s imagined version of Adolf Hitler. So yeah, gonna be a weird one. As weird as Thor: Ragnarok? Quite possibly (though with fewer Grandmasters).