Just say the magic (literally) word... Last night, Shazam! enjoyed its world premiere and you know SYFY WIRE had to pump the cast and crew for intel on the film and any possible sequel ideas that may already be in the works.
WARNING! This story contains some spoilers for Shazam!, so if you haven't seen it yet, you may want to avoid reading beyond this point.
"I just want to see more of these characters because I think there is so much more you can do with them," said director David F. Sandberg of a follow-up. "So much more story to tell. Even in this one there was so much fun we couldn’t even put into the movie because it was getting too long so there is certainly more to do."
When we asked if he brainstorms about Black Adam (most likely to be played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) fighting Shazam, the Lights Out director added:
"In my head, yes. That’s all I think about. He is the classic bad guy for Shazam so that feels like a natural [match-up] to end up at some point."
As for Mark Strong, who plays the central antagonist of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, he feels that a follow-up could build on Shazam!'s first post-credits sequence, which finds Sivana meeting Mr. Mind (a classic Shazam villain from the '40s) for the first time.
"That would be interesting," said Strong. "I’ve never had a sidekick that was a worm before. That would be a first for me."
The appearance of a talking worm may seem weird to some, but it's just one of several nods to the classic Captain Marvel (no, not Carol Danvers) from the Golden Age of comic books first published by Fawcett and then by DC.
"There are a lot of references, especially to the old Captain Marvel from the old Shazam comics. Some very obscure references that maybe 2-3 people might get," Sandberg told us.
Set in Philadelphia during Christmastime, the movie follows Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a foster kid who, after meeting an ancient wizard (Djimon Hounsou), gains the ability to turn into an adult superhero (Zachary Levi). Helping him navigate his newfound powers (mainly electricity manipulation, super strength, flight, and invincibility to conventional weaponry) is Billy's fellow foster kid, Freddie Freeman (Jack Dylan Grazer). The owner of a bullet that was once fired at Superman and wearer of Aquaman T-shirts, Freddie knows way more about being a superhero than Billy does.
"Hollywood hasn’t really touched on [foster kids], especially in a superhero movie," Grazer said. "We are bringing them into the spotlight and humanizing them and in the long run we are super-humanizing them which is even cooler."
So far, reviews for the movie have been largely positive, praising the wide-eyed, unassuming approach taken by Sanbderg & Co. The comparisons to Penny Marshall's Big are very apt, but the feature is also a love letter to superhero fans, an homage to the darker children's films of yore, and a lesson on the importance of family, whatever form it may take.
Shazam! receives its wide theatrical release next Friday, April 5.
Additional reporting by Karri Lucas