Are you ready for the fun-filled, family superhero movie of the year? Following its release in cinemas earlier this year, Shazam is now available to watch from the comfort of your sofa.
The film’s message is that we all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out.
In 14-year-old Billy Batson’s case, he becomes one by shouting out one word - Shazam! - before turning into the grown-up superhero of the same name, played perfectly by Zachary Levi.
Still a kid at heart, Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them.
But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil, which are controlled by Dr Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).
Here, we reveal the best bits about the movie, fascinating facts you didn’t know and DC Easter eggs you didn’t spot, who's in the cast and more, as Shazam is released in the BT TV Film Store.
Who’s in the cast of Shazam?
Zachary Levi (Chuck, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) is the adult superhero Shazam, who is given superpowers by an ancient wizard when he calls the sorcerer's name - namely the Wisdom of Solomon, Strength of Hercules, Stamina of Atlas, Power of Zeus, Courage of Achilles and Speed of Mercury.
Asher Angel (Disney Channel’s Andi Mack) plays 14-year-old Billy Batson, the teenage foster kid who transforms into superhero Shazam.
Mark Strong (Zero Dark Thirty, Kingsman) plays villain physicist Dr Thaddeus Sivana, while Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Blood Diamond) portrays the ancient wizard who bestows his powers on Billy Batson.
The foster kid roles are: Jack Dylan Grazer (Freddy), Faithe Herman (Darla), Grace Fulton (Mary), Ian Chen (Eugene) and Jovan Armand (Pedro).
3 reasons to watch Shazam…
1. ‘Big kid’ Zachary Levi is the perfect person to play the teen-turned-superhero
It’s hard to believe that Zachary Levi auditioned for a smaller role in the film (that of grown up Freddy Freeman, if you’re wondering).
But the actor mistakenly believed that the producers were looking for someone more like Dwayne Johnson for the superhero character.
In actual fact, Levi is the perfect person to play Shazam, and we can’t imagine anyone else in the role
We’re not the only people to think so, as that’s what the film’s director and producers thought after his casting, too.
“It was quite a process to find what makes a grown man feel like a kid,” said Shazam director David F. Sandberg.
“It wasn't until we found [Levi] that we saw that he has this enthusiasm and excitement about the world and everything that makes him feel very kid-like.
“So when we saw him it was like, ‘he's the guy and this is the way to go.’ Because it's not about dumbing him down and making him a stupid kid. No. He's excited about the world and this opportunity.”
Producer Peter Safran agreed. “Zach is that character. He is a 14-year-old boy in an adult's body. All the time, not just when he's in our movie. That’s who Zach is,” he said.
2. It's one of Hollywood’s most diverse superhero movies
Following female-fronted Wonder Woman and biracial leading man Jason Mamoa in Aquaman, DC has totally embraced diverse superheroes on the big screen.
As Yahoo film journalist Ethan Alter points out, young orphan Billy Batson (Asher Angel) lives with a blended family of foster kids who hail from a richly diverse background.
billy and mary are white, pedro is a latin american plus-size person and presumably gay, darla is african american, victor is samoan, eugene is asian american, rosa is spanish, freddy is white and disabled and shazam the wizard is beninese you can't fight me on this https://t.co/p3SKw5yfLX— matsu (@gareactor) April 6, 2019
The children of various ages are of different ethnicities and, in the case of Freddy Freeman, possess an actual physical disability.
Of the film’s colourfully diverse family, Levi tells Alter: “The fact that our movie in its own true DNA is about a foster family made up of a very racially diverse group of kids, and parents [means] we have a very cool privilege to represent a lot of underrepresented people. And that’s very groovy.”
In fact, some fans are speculating that DC introduced its first gay superhero in the film, reports GayTimes.co.uk.
One scene sees Billy and his friends end up in a strip club, to which Pedro (Jovan Armand) says: “Not my thing.”
Fans have taken this to mean that this is the character’s subtle way of mentioning that he’s gay, or potentially asexual.
3. Catch up ahead of the rumoured sequel - and the Black Adam spin-off!
While DC has yet to officially announce a follow up to Shazam, the fact it's made $300+ million at the box office to date strongly suggests that it will be back.
In fact, Shazam star Zachary Levi has already started dropping major hints that his character will be returning to the big screen.
The actor told Associated Press that scriptwriting for the sequel has already begun and he’s expecting to start filming either in late spring/early summer 2020.
So what do we know about the sequel so far? Well according to Hollywood Reporter, Henry Gayden, who penned the first film's screenplay, is writing the next installment.
Shazam’s director David F. Sandberg and producer Peter Safran are also expected to return for the follow-up.
The first film certainly sets itself up for a sequel - notably the introduction of the grown-up foster kid superheroes, and the mid-credits scene teasing villain Mister Mind.
Elsewhere in the Shazam / DC universe, Dwayne Johnson is set to star in his own solo movie as the villain Black Adam, with filming for that thought to be taking place this year (Yahoo).
So perhaps he’ll face off against Shazam in the sequel? Superhero fans can only hope...
How to buy Shazam and watch on your TV box
Shazam trivia and DC Easter eggs: Did you spot...
1. In the scene where Billy Batson is in the social worker’s office, there's an assortment of smiley face mugs, balls, and buttons on the desk. The film’s director David F. Sandberg confirmed that the smiley faces are a nod to the iconic symbol of another DC film, Watchmen.
2. Keep your eyes peeled - Billy’s new brother Freddy is a huge superhero fan, and he’s seen wearing various superhero T-shirts throughout the film, reports ScreenCrush.com. Try and spot the Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman apparel.
3. Listen carefully, Batman fans - there's a nod to Christian Bale's Batcave in the film. When describing the kind of secret base they're looking for, Billy says he's after somewhere 'overlooking water, with a waterfall that you can drive through to access'. As ScreenRant.com confirms, that's a perfect description of the Batcave from Christopher Nolan's movie trilogy.
4. As spotted by DenOfGeek.com, Billy and the foster kids attend Fawcett Central, a reference to Fawcett Publications, who published Shazam comics for the first 15 years of the characters' existence.
5. [SPOILER ALERT] The very last scene in Shazam before the end credits roll features the film’s biggest DC Comics cameo - Superman! As IGN reports, Superman comes to sit at their cafeteria lunch table - but we only see him from the neck down, as it’s not Henry Cavill in the suit.
What the fans are saying about Shazam:
Superhero fans who’ve watched Shazam are gearing up for the sequel…
Okay. Shazam was amazing. Hope there is a sequel!— Lilith Leopard (@LilithLeopard) July 6, 2019
@ZacharyLevi FINALLY got to see Shazam & it was amazingly good! I was halfway through & already excited for a sequel! It's WAY at the top for my favorite super hero movie as well as favorite movie, in general, for 2019! You all did a spectacular job and should be so proud! pic.twitter.com/Z0d0OzObG6— Tanya (@Drag_TJR) July 11, 2019
SHAZAM FANS MAKE SOME NOISE WE’RE GETTING A SEQUEL! pic.twitter.com/uOWTWXrY0b— Ira 🚀 (@Irafuse_dc) April 8, 2019