No, he’s not pitching super absorbent cleaning cloths, you’re thinking ShamWow! there. Grazer (It) is joining Zachary Levi (Chuck) and Asher Angel (Andi Mack) for the live-action adaptation of the DC Comics hero, Shazam.
Originally named Captain Marvel until Marvel Comics finally got its hands on the right to the name (and then established Mar-vell and Carol Danvers as said heroes), Shazam chronicles the story of young Billy Batson. Little Billy (played by Angel), after his parents were killed by Black Adam (at least in the comics, Black Adam is being played by the family-friendly Dwayne Johnson in the movie), is separated from his guardian uncle Ebenezer and sister Mary and winds up a street orphan. He then has a bit of an adventure and stumbles upon the ancient wizard Shazam. Being a good and pure kid, the wizard naturally decides a child is totes capable of being responsible for fantastic, world-altering powers and grants him the ability to harness them by speaking the word Shazam.
We’re guessing that power source might be getting a slight update from “powers of the biblical King Solomon and Olympian gods” he was initially powered by. Comics canon conveniently re-routed those powers to a set of New Gods (think Justice League’s Steppenwolf set) that aren’t as much of a cultural minefield.
Now, whenever young Billy sees trouble, he can turn into an adult heroic crusader (this is where Levi comes in) by speaking the magic word. So yeah, a little dark for an origin story, but not too awful for its time. This will be a renaissance for the character, who has fallen out of mainstream favor as comics have grown and matured without him. Which is sad, because there’s a wealth of story to explore about a kid who is granted unbelievable powers and is then literally thrust into adulthood temporarily to make life or death decisions with potentially long-term ramifications.
But who cares about that, we get to see little kids finally live their dreams of being a superhero! While there’s no real word on if Mary Batson will be making an appearance and later joining her brother as the hero Mary Marvel (not without a name change she won’t!), we do know according to Deadline that Grazer will be playing Batson’s best friend, Freddy.
The movie is set to be directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation), with a script from Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke. Aquaman’s Peter Safran will produce, with filming tapped for early 2018.
Shazam! is currently slated to be released in 2019, coincidentally the same year Marvel Studios deigns to finally get around to premiering the Captain Marvel movie they originally announced in 2014. Also coincidentally when Warner Brothers first mentioned they would be developing Shazam! for the screen. It’s like they’re linked or something.