Considering the huge library of characters at its disposal, Warner Bros. has made very little us of its DC Comics characters outside of The Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, aside from the occasional release such as Watchmen, Green Lantern and Jonah Hex. However, the studio has had a tonne of properties in development at one time or another, including a Captain Marvel adaptation entitled Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam, and director Peter Segal (Anger Management, Get Smart) has spoken about his plans for the character during a chat with Coming Soon about his latest film Grudge Match. And by the sound of things, Warner’s upcoming Batman vs. Superman means its unlikely his vision for Shazam will ever make it to the screen.
“The thing is, Shazam has always lived this tortured life going against Superman. This dates back to the 1930s. Because Captain Marvel had similar powers to Superman, the DC folks back then sued what was the most popular comic book on the stands at that time. Years later, they bought it and it became a DC property but, as long as Superman stays hot in the market place, there seems like a little bit of a crossover between the two characters. After Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day. That’s when you heard those stories. Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it’s difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman’s resurgence.”
Asked if Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam would have adopted a kid-friendly approach, Segal responded, “It wasn’t. I was working with Geoff Johns. At its core, it’s a lot like Superman. There’s this boy trapped inside of a superhero’s body. He’s still a boy inside, so there’s this opportunity to play a lot of humor with the action. Originally, Stan Lee brought me Fantastic Four a number of years ago for that very reason. I always have the question when people bring me superhero properties, ‘Why me?’ With Stan, he said, ‘It’s because there’s a sense of humor within all Marvel characters.’ These characters are flawed and, within those flaws, there is humor. When Toby Emmerich came to me with Shazam, it was because of those same reasons. To draw from that humor and to mix it with great action and pathos. I’ve always loved Shazam, but I don’t know if it’s going to see the light of day anytime soon.”
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