The DC Extended Universe is soldiering on after a less than stellar year in 2016. Financially speaking, both Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad crushed it, but they seriously divided fans and were generally trashed by critics. Still, there are a lot of projects that the studio is still working on, one of which is the long-in-development Shazam movie. Now it looks like the movie may have finally found a director in the form of David F. Sandberg.
The Wrap is reporting that David F. Sandberg, who had a major breakout last year with his horror movie Lights Out, is in negotiations with the studio to helm Shazam!. Sandberg also has Annabelle 2 coming out this year and since both that movie and Lights Out were done for New Line, which is where Shazam is happening, it makes sense that they would turn to him. Not necessarily because those horror movies speak to what they are looking for in a Shazam movie, but because he has proven he can make them a lot of money. Also, a lot of studios take directors who have mostly worked on smaller movies successfully and plop them into a massive tentpole like this, so this report makes a lot of sense.
Aside from David F. Sandberg, it was recently rumored that San Andreas director Brad Peyton was also in the running for the job. Shazam had been sitting on the shelf without much movement for a very long time, even though Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson has been attached to star as the anti-hero Black Adam for a few years now. However, in recent months there has been some movement and most recently, it was announced that the studio is planning on making a Black Adam solo movie, in addition to Shazam.
Since The Rock has become such a massive star in the few years since it was announced he was going to be portraying the anti-hero Black Adam, it has been a little unclear how they are going to handle the character onscreen. Last month, Dwayne Johnson implied that he feels the character is a hero, even though he is very much a villain in the world of DC Comics. Recently, during a monthly Q&A on his YouTube channel, he doubled down on those comments, explaining their take on the character a bit in addition to flat out saying he thinks Black Adam is a hero. Here is what he had to say.
"It's really our interpretation, and who we deem a hero. Yes, of course, in the mythology Black Adam is a villain. Or he can be considered an antihero. Or to some, he's a hero. To some who have a black heart like me [laughs]. Again, I love the backstory that he started off as a slave and he was held down. And I think when that kinda backstory about a man who's held down and he rises up out of that to become greater and then dealing with the conflict of pain of losing his family, it's dark, but it, uh, also adds to the gravity and adds to the weight of the story. So what does it mean for the movie? It means the movie's gonna be fantastic and it means that it's gonna be badass. And it means to me, uh, he's a hero."
Currently, Shazam is set for an April 5, 2019, release date. Assuming Warner Bros. and the creative team behind the movie want to stick to that, they are probably going to have to get the ball rolling soon. If they can close a deal with David F. Sandberg, that would certainly be a step in the right direction. The tricky part is The Rock's insane schedule and slate of upcoming projects, but things could always wind up getting shifted around to make room for Shazam. Outside of the Shazam solo movie, it was recently teased by Dwayne Johnson and Henry Cavill that Black Adam and Superman will be going toe-to-toe at some point. Maybe that could happen in the Black Adam movie? In any case, after a very long time in development, the Shazam movie finally seems to be coming together.