According to screenwriter John August via his blog, “Shazam!” the movie is dead. Buried. In the ground. At least, for now. August blames the current death of “Shazam!” on a number of factors, most notably the costly failure of the Wachowski Brothers’ “Speed Racer” (the carcass of which can still be smelt to this day), and the ginormous success of Christopher Nolan’s “The Dark Knight” (which has, inevitably, made every Hollywood studio scrambling to copycat). August blogs that the future of “Shazam!” remains uncertain, but as far as he knows, the film is currently off the studio’s radar. As in, completely. At least, as far as he knows, which if you know Hollywood, the writer is always the last to know everything.
By “dead,” I mean that it won’t be happening. I don’t think it’s on the studio’s radar at all. It may come back in another incarnation, with another writer, but I can say with considerable certainty that it won’t be the version I developed.
I can’t see Warner Bros. completely burying Billy Batson and Captain Marvel for good. The character is just too rich with possibilities, as well as prime fodder for a franchise. But of course, making Captain Marvel go the “dark and gritty superhero” route, which according to August, is where Warner Bros. is headed and wanted him to take, is absolutely the wrong way to approach the character. This is Captain Friggin Marvel, for God’s sake, not The Punisher. And though he looks like the Big S, he’s still just a little kid with superpowers. The “darkest” you can go (nay, should go) is make Batson fall off his tricycle or some such.
This is a kid-friendly, family movie from the word Go, and Warner Bros. needs to get this “make everything like ‘The Dark Knight!’” kick they’re currently on out of their system. “The Dark Knight” is “The Dark Knight”. Everything else … isn’t. Get it?
Below: I got money on the super strong guy with the floating cape.