Slowly but surely, SHAZAM! has become one of Warner Bros.'s most promising projects. Fortunately for diehard fans of the character and his mythology, the pieces for Billy Batson's solo adventure have been steadily falling into place. With Zachary Levi recenty set to battle the forces of evil as the titular character, and a slew of supporting characters confirmed for the story, all that was left to figure out was the villain.
For months, fans assumed that the power-hungry Black Adam would have the honor of battling the Wizard's red champion, but with the announcement of his solo movie coming our way soon, we learned that wasn't the case. Thanks to that, speculation has been going rampant, but theorize no further, my fellow geeks, because we finally know who Shazam will be using his mighty fists against.
Meet Dr. Sivana, Shazam's Most Dangerous Villain (No, Really)
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Mark Strong is in early talks to take on the role of SHAZAM!'s main baddie as Dr. Sivana. Coincidentally, this won't be Strong's first foray into DC's expansive world, as he played Sinestro in 2011's GREEN LANTERN. In case you aren't caught up with your comic book lore, Dr. Sivana made his fictional debut in 1940s Whiz Comics #2. Sivana was born in the 1800s in Europe, and grew up to become one of the world's most powerful and prolific minds. He had a thirst for invention and evolution, but that led to him being ridiculed and mocked, as people called him crazy.
The mockery was such, that he decided to leave Earth with his family to resettle on Venus, and wait until our fair planet wasn't so intolerant to make his triumphant return (I know, comics, don't think about it too much). Unfortunately for him, living on a foreign planet wasn't as pleasant as he thought, and his experience prompted him to develop an unparalleled hatred for humanity.
Bitter and thirsty for revenge, he returned to Earth decades later to wreak havoc alongside his wife and four kids, Georgia, Magnificus, Thaddeus Jr. and Beautia. That's when his first encounter with Shazam came about. The self-described mad scientist devised a plan to hold back all of the world's radio communications unless he was given $50,000,000 from the world. Thankfully, Shazam (then known as Captain Marvel) swooped in and thwarted his evil plans.
Since that fateful encounter, Sivana harbored a heated rivalry with the hero, and essentially became one of the Shazam family's deadliest opponents. Now, you're probably wondering whether Warner Bros. and director David F Sandberg will choose to go with his original background for the film. While there's not much we know about the plot, I don't see them adapting such an out-there storyline.
Instead, the team will probably go for realistic approach for the character. In 1994, for example, his backstory was given a more grounded spin. This time around, he was a wealthy businessman who led an expedition to Egypt that inadvertently played a part in creating Shazam. Sivana eventually lost his fortune because of this event, and blaming the thunderous hero, he set out to make Billy's life a living hell. Again, we don't know much about what the story will be dealing with, but I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up getting a toned-down version of the character.
Will Sivana Be A Good Foil For Shazam?
Most of us were expecting Black Adam to become Shazam!'s big bad, so the question is: Was it better to ditch such a powerful individual with what's essentially a mad scientist for Billy Batson's first big screen outing? It may sound weird, but yes. You see, introducing Black Adam as the baddie is almost too easy, at least for Shazam's first film. The guy is pretty much a mirror image of our hero, so it would be easy to create conflict between the two and craft an easy action-adventure movie.
Sivana is a completely different thing. He may not be some furious god with unstoppable powers hellbent on taking over the universe, but that's what's most exciting about the bespectacled fella. He can bring something new to the superhero movie genre by the prospect of pitting brain against muscle. We'll get to see an innocent child with the powers of a god battling one of the smartest minds on the planet –– how awesome is that?
Shazam is by nature an unconventional character, so I'm glad to see they're taking an unconventional approach to his film and the characters in it. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that Black Adam wouldn't work as a baddie in a future Shazam movie. It's just that Black Adam is one of those rare antagonists that need build up, similar to Darkseid or Thanos. Thankfully, that's what DC is seemingly doing by giving him his own film.
I think it goes without saying, but I can't wait to see Billy Batson go up against Dr. Sivana. SHAZAM! will be flying into theaters on April, 2019.