Warner Bros. Has ‘More Faith’ in the Franchise After ‘Untested’ Superhero Success

Shazam believes he can fly, and lead actor Zachary Levi more than believes in the franchise potential for the lesser-known DC superhero.

The “Shazam! Fury of the Gods” actor revealed to Entertainment Tonight that the sequel film, in theaters December 21, had “more time and more budget” than its 2019 predecessor in part due to the “untested” waters of focusing on a tween boy who gains superpowers and is transformed into an adult, no spider bite or Krypton origin story included.

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“The first one was kind of untested. Not a lot of people knew who Shazam was,” Levi explained. “More people knew Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, all that stuff. We were this kind of little engine that could, and everyone was wondering how the movie would do. Then we did quite well, so now there’s more faith in us as a franchise.”

The actor continued, “Warner Bros. has been so supportive. They gave us more money, more time, some newer, cooler suits. It was awesome.”

And filming the sequel, along with franchise newcomers Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu, and Rachel Zegler, felt like returning home.

“We all got to jump back into these characters that we were already creating on the first one,” Levi added. “Now we get to revisit them and get deeper with them, and more nuanced with them, and keep building relationships between the different characters, all that’s the fun stuff.”

Levi summed up while at 2022 San Diego Comic Con, “It feels like a lot of hard work has paid off to be able to just go and stand there on stage and tell everybody that you love them and appreciate them. It’s dope. It’s the coolest.”

Co-star Liu called joining the DC universe the “most exciting thing” in her career that harnessed her own youth.

“It’s like the little girl in me comes out,” Liu shared. “I mean, you grow up reading the comics, and at that time they didn’t have movies like this, you know? Seeing it on TV and then having your own life be a part of something like that is really the icing on the cake. It’s the top of the top.”

And representing her Asian-American background added to the magic of “Shazam!”

“I think that the superhero world is about belonging and being a part of that,” Liu continued. “Understanding that everybody now is included, it makes that world so much bigger. So I think diversity counts, and people are recognizing that more and more.”

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