When is Shazam! in cinemas? What’s it about and who’s in the cast?

And why isn’t Billy Batson called Captain Marvel any more?

Zachary Levi as Billy Batson in Shazam! (Warner Bros)

New superhero movie Shazam! looks set to bring some laughs to the DC movie universe, with all the trailers suggesting it’ll show the lighter side to superheroics.

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But what else should we expect from Zachary Levi’s first foray into caped crusading? Check out the film’s full details below.


When is Shazam! out in the UK?

Shazam! (we won’t use the exclamation point every time) is released in the UK on 5th April, and comes out in the US at the same time.


Is there a trailer for Shazam?

There are a couple, and they show the basic story – young boy gets given superpowers and the body of his older self, Tom Hanks in Big-style – while also demonstrating how the movie will fit in with the wider DC movie universe.


Who’s in the Shazam cast?

Chuck star Zachary Levi plays the older, superheroic Shazam, while Asher Angel plays his young alter-ego Billy Batson.

Mark Strong is baddie Dr Thaddeus Sivana, Djimon Hounsou is the wizard Shazam (who gives Billy his powers), and IT’s Jack Dylan Grazer plays Freddy Freeman, Billy’s friend and confidante.


What is Shazam about?

Young foster kid Billy is picked by an ancient wizard to be his new champion after defending a friend from bullies, becoming a powerful Superman-esque hero whenever he says the word “Shazam!”

Teaming up with foster brother Freddy to try out his new powers, Billy quickly learns there’s more to being a hero than jumping tall buildings in a single(ish) bound, especially when a new villain with exactly the same powers as him emerges to threaten the world.


Is Shazam called Captain Marvel?

Brie Larson as Captain Marvel (Marvel, HF)
Brie Larson as Captain Marvel (Marvel, HF)

Well, here’s a funny quirk – originally, in the comics the adult hero that Billy Batson turns into WAS called Captain Marvel, but after the character was cancelled following a court case (short story – his creators were sued for ripping off Superman) and revived years later, Marvel comics had already copyrighted the name for one of their heroes. Instead, he was renamed after the magic word Billy Batson said to transform – Shazam!

The OTHER Captain Marvel, also known as Mar-Vell, ended up begetting the Carol Danvers version of Captain Marvel (originally called Ms Marvel or Binary, among other names), whose own movie was released just a few weeks before Shazam!

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In other words, we’re getting two Captain Marvel movies within a month of each other, from completely different studios but sharing one actor – Djimon Hounsou, who plays Korath in the Marvel Studios movie, and the Wizard Shazam here – and a whole lot of complicated comic-book history.