In 2023, it'll be time to yell "shazam" once again. That's because the Shazam! sequel, officially titled Shazam: Fury of the Gods, will be winging its way towards the big screen. The DC Comics movie promises to expand on the mythology of the hit 2019 blockbuster, which introduced us to young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his super-powered alter-ego Shazam (Zachary Levi).
The crowd-pleasing concept of the original movie was simple, fusing Tom Hanks movie Big with Superman. Essentially, young Billy is imbued with special powers that allow him to turn into a superhero. All he has to do is utter the word shazam and he's transformed from a gawky high-school teen into an invulnerable, muscled world-saver (who also, handily, looks old enough to purchase beer). Shazam is bestowed with the powers of six gods: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury.
The end of the first film left us with the nefarious Dr Silva (Mark Strong) being approached, in his jail cell, by fan-favourite villain Mr. Mind. And yes, the latter is a worm. While we wait to see where those plot developments will take us, the sequel is lining up another baddie to give Billy/Shazam a headache.
Step forward Oscar-winning acting royalty Helen Mirren. The star of The Queen and Fast & Furious will be portraying Hespera, reports Deadline. The character originally derived from Greek mythology, famous as the daughter of Atlas, so Billy/Shazam will have his work cut out this time around.
Given Mirren's standing as a British acting icon, on stage, screen and TV, and her skill with imperious, defiant characters, she's surely the perfect fit to play a goddess.
She and the rest of the cast will be working with director David F. Sandberg, who steered the first film to profitable box office returns of more than $300 million worldwide.
Shazam: Fury of the Gods is scheduled for release in June 2023. If that seems impossibly far away, then check out our list of comic book movies in 2021, not to mention our history of comic book movies.