Shazam! comes to us next week as the year’s sole DCEU release, sandwiched between two Marvel blockbusters – those being, Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame. But while the online conflict between these two comic book camps shows no sign of dying down, producer Peter Safran and director David F. Sandberg apparently see no rivalry with their friends at Marvel Studios.
Of course, one man who probably feels the same is filmmaker James Gunn, who’s set to spend the next couple of years moving between the two brands as director of The Suicide Squad and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Speaking to Uproxx, Safran argued that Gunn’s involvement in both franchises demonstrates that there needn’t be such a divide between Marvel and DC:
“I’ve always believed, that which unites comic book fans, is much greater than that which divides us. And so the whole Marvel, DC rivalry thing is kind of bullshit. Because really we’re all fans of the same thing. I love the fact that he’s directed a movie for Marvel and directed a movie for DC. And the Earth is not spinning off its axis. It’s okay.”
Sandberg was similarly dismissive of the tribalistic attitudes of certain comic book fans, recalling how when he was growing up, he didn’t care which banner each hero fell under:
“When I was a kid in Sweden, I didn’t really know about DC or Marvel. It was just comic books and superheroes. One of my favorites was one where they had a team-up between Superman and Spider-Man. To me, that wasn’t something strange. I was like, yeah, they’re both superheroes. Why not? It wasn’t something special.”
This is hardly the first time that either Safran or Sandberg has spoken out against the conflict between the two fandoms. Earlier this month, for instance, Safran remarked that both he and Gunn feel the Marvel/DC divide is “absurd,” while Sandberg took to Instagram last December to call the rivalry “so god damn stupid.”
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Nonetheless, Shazam! has been brought up in many an online dispute in recent weeks, largely due to the funny coincidence that Billy Batson used to go by the name of Captain Marvel. The conflict over Carol Danvers’ recent MCU debut has even caught the attention of Shazam! star Zachary Levi, who’s repeatedly gone on record condemning the angry commenters who’ve been trolling Captain Marvel pages.
All the same, you can be sure that plenty of the same filmgoers who went to see the latest MCU flick will also be checking out Shazam! when it arrives in theaters on April 5th.