Currently, the DC Extended Universe is in a bit of an interesting place at Warner Bros. Suicide Squad is doing very well at the box office, but much like its predecessor Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, it has been absolutely slammed by critics. Fortunately there are some projects on the horizon that fans can still be potentially excited about. The first Wonder Woman trailer was very encouraging, Justice League is looking to be an improvement and of course, Dwayne Johnson's long gestating Shazam! is still alive and well. Things have been fairly quiet in terms of updates, but The Rock's producer and manager Dany Garica just gave some new details on the project.
Speaking with Newsweek, Garcia not only confirmed that the project is moving ahead as scheduled, be she also clarified how exactly the movie will fit in with the rest of the DCEU. According to her, it will live in the same world as Man of Steel and Suicide Squad, but it will very much be its own thing. Here is what she had to say.
"Shazam! is to live in the same world [as the other films] but we have incredible autonomy over this brand and franchise. We are working with a different team, different producers, directors... it's a different set-up. ... We don't feel fettered by, or constrained by, the successes or failures and challenges of the other projects. That was a key component to our participation - that we be able to control the tone and the voice, and do it the way we want to."
Johnson, who is playing the villain Black Adam in the movie, has become one of the most prolific and in-demand stars in Hollywood, so it makes sense that he wouldn't want to be overly constrained by the larger hand of Geoff Johns and those at Warner Bros. overseeing the DECU. It also probably helps that Shazam! is being done at New Line, the sister studio for Warner Bros. So while it is going to fit in with the DCEU, it will be able to stand a bit more on its own, at least according to Garcia, who also gave an update as to where they are at in the production process.
"We're getting [script] drafts in... it's important to make sure we get the tone right for Black Adam, which is Dwayne's part. We don't mind taking our time. We're being very careful with each act and scene to go back and layer in as much as possible. ... We've got so many wonderful superhero franchises out there... we don't need to run away from them and say 'we can't be that,' but it's important to understand what are the best aspects of a Batman [movie] versus Avengers versus Deadpool? What are the elements people are responding to? We want to move the needle."
Shazam! isn't due out until 2019, and a lot could happen between now and then. If Warner Bros. faces a couple of more rough outings with critics, they could start to see diminishing returns on their DCEU movies, and by the time 2019 comes around, their plans could change altogether. However, it sounds like Shazam! is independent enough of those movies that it could still move ahead with or without Warner Bros. overarching plans, which is good for The Rock and good for fans of the property. Garcia didn't say this, but what she did have to say implies it wouldn't be difficult to detach this project entirely, as the connective tissue isn't super heavy.
"It needs to be of the world. You've got Justice League, Wonder Woman with a different director, so you're going to see different points of view. I think by the time we land with [Shazam!] we'll fit nicely within the world that's been created, but not such a shorthand relationship. [It'll be] enough that people say, 'Oh, this is within the family,' but the culture will be a little different."
There are a lot of DCEU movies slated to come out before Shazam! finally does hit theaters. Next year will see the release of Wonder Woman and Justice League, and 2018 has both Aquaman and The Flash confirmed. Not only that, but the studio has a couple of untitled superhero projects slated in 2018 and 2019, as well as the Justice League sequel in June 2019. By the time it does come around, Warner Bros. and the DCEU may very well need the "franchise Viagra" that is Dwayne The Rock Johnson. Maybe that long rumored fight with Superman could do the trick? Shazam! is currently slated for an April 5, 2019 release date.