The first real-deal photo from next year’s Shazam! is finally out in the wild (thanks to Entertainment Weekly). The costume is a big departure from the sort of outfits featured in films like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, but director David Sandberg explained his inspiration behind the Big Red Cheese’s (Zachary Levi) cinematic aesthetic.
“I wanted to keep the shorter cape as a throwback to the original because that’s something that sets him apart from Superman or Batman,” the director told the site. “It makes him feel a bit more Golden Age superhero, which is the vibe I’m going for.”
At the same time, fans of the character in his 1940s Captain Marvel days will note the Golden Age cape was off to one shoulder and adorned with a rope and collar. In the photo above, the cape is affixed to the bodysuit with bolts and features a hood — design elements introduced in the early 21st Century during Freddie Freeman’s reign as Earth’s Mightiest Mortal and established as part of Shazam’s costume in 2011’s New 52 reboot. Other details were derived from the character’s animated film and television appearances and, quite possibly, the mid-1970s live action Shazam! series.
Based on the photo, the film itself will bring a lighter tough to DC Entertainment’s film universe. Which is definitely a welcome change and right for the character; whose world is rife with talking animals, fanciful villains and an extended family of kids-turned-heroes like Freddie (played by Jack Dylan Grazer in the above photo). Granted, not everything is smiles and sunshine in Shazam’s corner of the DC Universe — his chief nemesis Black Adam (to be played by Dwayne Johnson at some point) is anything but fanciful — but the character’s outlook certainly sets him apart from the main DC film heroes. In fact, it may be a starker contrast than the length of his cape.
Shazam! opens April 5th.