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The Big Red Cheese won’t fly on the big screen any time soon — and it’s all Superman’s fault.
Director Peter Segal was once attached to an adaptation of DC Comics’ Shazam!, about young Billy Batson and his secret superhero life as Captain Marvel. But that project appears dead in the water, thanks to Man of Steel and its planned sequel.
“I’ve always loved Shazam,” Segal told Coming Soon, “but I don’t know if it’s going to see the light of day any time soon.”
He elaborated, “The thing is, Shazam has always live this tortured life going against Superman. This dates back to the 1930s. Because Captain Marvel had similar powers to Superman, the DC folks back then sued what was the most popular comic book on the stands at that time. Years later, they bought it and it became a DC property but, as long as Superman stays hot in the market place, there seems like a little bit of a crossover between the two characters.”
“After Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day. That’s when you heard those stories,” he continued. “Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it’s difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman’s resurgence.”
The script for the long-discussed Shazam movie passed through the hands of nearly a half-dozen screenwriters before landing with Geoff Johns and Billy Birch in 2009. Although there has been no public movement on the project since then, Johns struck a more optimistic tone nearly a year ago when he promised, “There’s always talk about Shazam. And I can’t get into the specifics on that, but yeah, there’s hope for Shazam.”