"The Truth Shall Set You Free" - Shazam Star Zachary Levi Responds To Dwayne Johnson's DC Movies Power Play

The last gasp of the DC Extended Universe as it was formerly known at Warner Bros. is playing out in real time with the release of Shazam! Fury of the Gods this week.

I don't quite want to say everyone is in "FUCK IT" mode at this point, because so many people worked so hard on this sequel, but when the main star Zachary Levi is going public to confirm these types of dramatic behind-the-scenes details, well...what other way is there to read it?

It had been reported on before that Dwayne Johnson was hoping to accomplish his years-long mission of changing the hierarchy of power in DC movies, to paraphrase his own proclamations leading up to Black Adam. From the production of that project through its release was when Warner Bros. as a studio was shifting its own hierarchy of power. Now James Gunn and Peter Safran are co-leads of DC Studios and will soft reboot what they now refer to as the "DC Universe", as opposed to the previous "DCEU".

All that turbulence is how you get the director of both Shazam movies David F. Sandberg responding to a fan on Twitter without any clear answers on Shazam's future:

...And lamenting how geek culture has burned him the hell out:

…And I'm sure Johnson's antics amid the uncertain future of Warner Bros' DC properties weren't helping his morale or that of anyone close to these Shazam flicks while they were being made.

There was a power vacuum at WB for a second there around these big IPs. As The Wrap reported, Johnson tried to set himself and Henry Cavill up for a Black Adam-Superman showdown. Unfortunately, tantalizing Cavill post-credits scene in Black Adam aside, mere weeks after Cavill announced he was returning to the role, it was declared that Warner Bros would, in fact, be casting a new Superman.


So in the midst of that entire shit show, Johnson was wielding a ton of influence for a brief time in terms of the creative direction these DC films would take. He even had the sway (and audacity) to reject crossovers/collaborations with Levi's Shazam. I doubt you'll find anyone who'll argue against Black Adam being Shazam's No. 1 villain. There's something quite funny/ironic about Johnson and Levi never meeting as those characters on the silver screen, yet still, they're having it out in public in a meta sort of way.

It's not like the movies are strict panel-for-panel adaptations of the comics, but damn. It harms the spirit and upside of both Shazam and Black Adam in live action if you try to block them clashing. Doing so in favor Cavill's comeback as Supes wouldn't have been as interesting of a trajectory for the last son of Krypton, either.

What's more, as low box office forecasts began to trickle in for Shazam 2, ahead of its release this past week, we got this insider scoop about Tom Cruise loving The Flash:

I mean…talk shit about Shazam all you want. Look at the backdrop the director was dealing with. Not exactly what you'd call ideal conditions to thrive in. Then, when the movie finally does hit the world, it's already been announced that everything is rebooting once The Flash comes out. Oh, and the studio leaks this nugget about Tom Cruise loving that movie on the exact day yours hits theaters worldwide. SHEESH.

Nevertheless, Sandberg is all class.

…But you can't help but sense the underlying disappointment from him and now Levi to comment on Dwayne Johnson's power play.

I'm sure the lukewarm critical reception of Shazam! Fury of the Gods will hurt that movie's turnout to some degree. Probably even more detrimental is the massive transition phase DC movies are in. Gunn is writing and directing Superman: Legacy, which is due out July 11, 2025. Only then will Warner Bros. truly turn the page. Although that's pretty far off, their aim is to forge a promising new era that, while not quite copying Marvel's successful playbook, will at least mark the start of a much more cogent overall vision.


At the end of the day, here we are talking about more DC drama. I don't fully buy into superhero fatigue being a thing. I'm looking forward to what Gunn and Co. bring to the table so that these juicy insider reports of chaos and public spats can be a thing of the past.

What was that dubious fact Harvey Dent said in that presser from The Dark Knight? Ah yes…

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Speaking of DC and The Dark Knight, My Mom's Basement is killing it lately. Robbie Fox just posted an interview with David Dastmalchian, who was in TDK and starred in The Suicide Squad as Polka-Dot Man. He's in multiple other superhero projects in live action and animation. It's an interview that's well worth your time.