Disney Channel’s Asher Angel is set to play young Billy Batson, the boy who has the power to transform into the adult superhero in the upcoming DC movie Shazam! from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Asher Angel currently stars as Jonah Beck in Disney Channel’s Andi Mack, which recently made headlines for marking the network’s first gay storyline of a key character.
The news was confirmed on Instagram by director David F. Sandberg, who posted a photo of Levi holding Angel’s headshot.
This casting news comes hot on the heels of Zachary Levi being cast as the titular Shazam as well as rumors that Mark Strong will play the role of the villain, Doctor Sivana, while Grace Fulton will play one of Batson’s friends. David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) is directing Shazam! from a screenplay by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke.
The DC Entertainment superhero story centers on a boy named Billy Batson who can transform into an adult superhero by uttering the magic word “Shazam!” The name is an acronym of the ancient world gods and historical figures Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury, from which Batson derives his heroic attributes when in adult form.
For those who don’t know the comic this whole scenario might sound a little confusing but the idea of a kid being able to transform into an adult superhero could turn out to be a fun concept, especially if it’s played with just enough humor. The DCEU films were heavily criticized for their self-indulgent seriousness that left little room for fun and comedy. Joss Whedon’s upcoming cut of Justice League was trimmed down significantly to hone in on the film’s energetic pacing and humor so at least WB and DC are listening to the critiques.
Shazam! will be the next DC Cinematic Universe movie to begin shooting, ahead of Flashpoint, the Joss Whedon-directed Batgirl, and Suicide Squad 2, which Gavin O’Connor recently came aboard to direct. DC and Warner Bros. are also currently developing a standalone Black Adam film about Shazam’s arch nemesis with Dwayne Johnson attached to play the titular character.
Shazam! will hit theaters in April of 2019.
Images: Warner Bros., DC, Disney Channel