The Wrap has the scoop, claiming that Jones has come into contention for the coveted role just as Shazam! gears up to enter production.
In the comics, Shazam (AKA the Jebediah of Canaan) is not long for this world. Before kicking the bucket, he decides to bestow his legendary powers upon the young Billy Batson, who becomes an adult superhero in the blink of an eye. Zachary Levi has been cast as the full-grown Billy, and if David F. Sandberg’s long-gestating spinoff stays true to the comics, he’ll be able to call upon the deceased wizard for guidance – not unlike how the Star Wars franchise leans on Force ghosts to mold and shape its up-and-coming heroes.
On the casting front, we understand negotiations between Ron Cephas Jones and Warner Bros. are still underway, so there’s no guarantee that this deal will close.
Nevertheless, a recent character breakdown indicated that Shazam! is altering its lead villain (Doctor Sivana) into an “evil sorcerer,” one who regenerates from death with world domination on his mind. Yikes!
Standing in his way is the souped-up Billy Batson, who may wind up sharing the screen with Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam, after all. The latter character has since been confirmed for his own spinoff movie, with David F. Sandberg believing that an actor of Johnson’s caliber will only detract from Shazam’s origins story, thus explaining why he’s been removed. However, the latest rumor suggests otherwise.
Dubbed a superpowered version of Big – albeit with ancient wizards and, potentially, Diana Prince and Black Adam instead of Tom Hanks – Shazam! is expected to go before the cameras any day now before a theatrical release in 2019. Last we reported, that launch window had seemingly been narrowed to April, though Warner Bros. and New Line are keeping mum. We’ll notify you if and when that situation changes.