Getty Images / DC Comics
With New Line and DC Entertainment’s SHAZAM! about to start filming next month in Toronto to make its recently-announced April 5, 2019 release date, the role of the Wizard who gives Billy Batson the power to change into Shazam is one of the last key roles to fill.
The Tracking Board can confirm that This Is Us actor Ron Cephas Jones is in talks to play the Wizard once was known as “Shazam” when the superhero was referred to as “Captain Marvel.”
Batson is played by young Asher Angel with his older superhero alter-ego portrayed by Zachary Levi. The rest of the cast has also been confirmed with Mark Strong from Green Lantern playing his second DC villain in Doctor Sivana, and the rest of the cast including Jack Dylan Grazer (It), Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Cooper Andrews and Faithe Herman.
Directed by David F. Sandberg from Lights Out, the screenplay for the superhero film is written by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke with Peter Safran producing, following his similar role on Warner Bros’ Aquaman, directed by James Wan.
First introduced as Captain Marvel in Fawcett Comics’ Whiz Comics #2 in 1940, the character was created by writer Bill Parker and artist C.C. Beck with young Billy Batson gaining the power of Captain Marvel (later renamed “Shazam”) by yelling the name of the wizard “Shazam.” Fawcett expanded the initial superhero into an entire “Marvel Family,” but Fawcett was sued by DC Comics in 1953, claiming the character was too similar to Superman. Nineteen years later, DC licensed the Marvel Family from Fawcett, and then in 1991, DC outright bought the characters and incorporated them into the DC Universe. (Oddly, Shazam has not had his own comic book in quite a long time, although DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns did write him as a back-up story in the New 52 Justice League series.)
Repped by Leading Artists, Jones is best known for playing William, the estranged birth farther of Sterling K. Brown’s Randall on NBC’s This Is Us, which was recently nominated for Emmy and SAG nominations. Jones also appeared on the Netflix series Luke Cage and The Get Down, as well as Mr. Robot.
The Wrap first reported on Jones being in talks for the role.
Edward Douglas | East Coast Editor