Shazam! was not affected by DC’s evolving film strategy


The DC Extended Universe has gone through some drastic changes over the past few years, but Shazam! managed to remain unchanged.

Warner Bros. and DC have made numerous changes to the DC Extended Universe over the past few years, and they’re now headed in a new direction. But the franchise’s latest installment, Shazam!, was not part of those changes.

While doing press for the movie, Shazam! director David F. Sandberg and producer Peter Safran discussed the film’s conception and development process with Syfy. When asked how Warner Bros. and DC’s changing plans for the DCEU came into play, Sandberg stated that the film was not affected. His only job was to make a Shazam! movie, which didn’t need to set up anything else in that universe:

"“No, because we always wanted to just focus on telling [Shazam’s] story.  There was never any mandate to set things up for the future or incorporate certain things, it was just [to] make the best Shazam! movie.  And then, since it’s set in the world of DC, we could peek out and put in all these references and easter eggs and make it feel that it really is in that universe while still being its own story.”"

Safran reiterated that the film was solely meant to be an origin story for Shazam and that that’s what the final product turned out to be:

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"“We came on board at the point at which it was determined that it was just going to be a Shazam origin story. So he was going to be given the real estate and the space to tell a great origin story. And from that point, Geoff Johns, David, Henry Gayden, our writer…that’s the movie that’s on the screen today.”"

Although a Shazam! movie was being planned in the early 2000s, this film was announced back in 2014, with active development starting in early 2017. This means work on the project began after the divisive response to Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and before the critical and box office failure of Justice League.

Given these circumstances, it would be easy to think the film would have been changed drastically, but it seems like Sandberg was able to execute his vision. Early critical and audience reactions would also point to this being the case. So far, most are hailing Shazam! as a fresh addition to the DCEU.

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Choosing to keep the project in its own space may have been a tough decision for DC and Warner Bros., but it seems to be paying off. The Big Red Cheese is a different kind of DC superhero, and he needed a film that is just as unique as he is. Shazam! hits theaters on April 5th.