In some surprising news, Djimon Hounsou has been brought in to replace Ron Cephas Jones in Shazam!
If you remember, Marvel’s Luke Cage’s Jones was previously on board to play The Wizard in the picture. Now though, as per Entertainment Weekly, Jones has had to depart the project due to scheduling conflicts. That’s where Hounsou comes in, with the Gladiator and Blood Diamond actor taking over the role. This isn’t Hounsou’s first comic book-driven rodeo, of course, for he played Korath in Guardians of the Galaxy and voiced the titular T’Challa in 2010’s animated Black Panther series.
For those not familiar with Shazam lore, the more recent iterations of the hero’s story feature The Wizard – at times referred to by the Shazam moniker himself, not to mention known as Marmaragan – giving young Billy Batson the mystical powers of Shazam. The Wizard is depicted as the last surviving member of an ancient council, and he has to find a new champion to battle the nefarious Black Adam. In his infinite wisdom, he’d bestow these all-powerful abilities upon Billy.
The official word on Shazam! reads:
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam, courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.
As well as Zachary Levi on board as the titular hero, Shazam! also features Asher Angel as Billy Batson, Mark Strong as the ‘big bad’ of the picture, Doctor Sivana, Marta Milans and Cooper Andrews as Billy’s foster parents, and then roles for Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen and Jovan Armand as pals of Billy’s.
To be directed by David F. Sandberg, Shazam! is set for an April 5th, 2019 release.