‘Shazam’ director names the Marvel movie he almost made before ditching it for DC

Zachary Levi in 'Shazam!'
Image via Warner Bros. Pictures

At a time when the DCEU is in total disarray, the Shazam! franchise seems to be sauntering through the carnage whistling a jolly tune as, outside of a few frustrating delays as Warner Bros. keeps shuffling its release schedule, Shazam! Fury of the Gods has managed to press ahead without any controversies and is enjoying a solid amount of unbesmirched, positive buzz. So kudos goes to director David F. Sandberg for steering the sturdiest ship in the DC universe.

It turns out, though, that before he signed up to helm the 2019 Zachary Levi vehicle, Sandberg almost said yes to another superhero film based on a legendary Marvel character. While answering fans’ questions on Instagram, the Lights Out filmmaker was asked how he came to be attached to Shazam! in the first place. The director explained that he had a choice between either that project or Venom, but it was the DC gig that ultimately swayed him. As he recalled:

“I really liked the concept and the story and it was with people I like and had already worked with before at New Line. I read the script for and had a meeting about Venom but I was already going down the path of Shazam and felt that I’d rather do that than pursue Venom. I thought Venom turned out quite good though.”

In contrast to Shazam!, which was warmly received, Venom — as directed by Ruben Fleischer — became a hugely divisive comic book film upon its release in fall 2018. That said, it did earn a bigger take at the box office. Andy Serkis took over the reins from Fleischer for 2021’s similarly mocked money-maker Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

On paper, given his horror credentials, Sandberg would seem better suited to something like Venom than the bright and comedic Shazam!, but the chance to do something very different from his past films was probably part of the appeal. In any case, the director clearly feels at home in this world now, hence why he returned for Fury of the Gods, blasting into theaters on March 17, 2023.