While actors like Laurence Fishburne are crossing the streams by playing characters in both the Marvel and DC cinematic universes, it appears Mark Strong is keen on having a go at playing two characters from the same comic book company. Per The Wrap, the Green Lantern actor is in talks to play the DC Comics villain Doctor Sivana in New Line Cinema’s upcoming Shazam. The DCEU film recently set Zachary Levi in the lead role, as the story revolves around a young boy who transforms into a mighty superhero simply by uttering the magic word “Shazam!”.
Strong played the supporting character of Sinestro in Warner Bros.’ 2011 Green Lantern movie, with a post-credits scene setting up his character as a villain in a future sequel. This was before Warner Bros. had established an interconnected universe of DC movies, and that film was only intended to kick off a franchise of its own. But due to poor reviews and underwhelming box office, a follow-up never got off the ground.
Strong’s Green Lantern co-star Ryan Reynolds made the jump to 20th Century Fox’s Marvel universe just fine as he’s now the star of the bona fide blockbuster franchise Deadpool, so it’s possible Strong gets the success he was hoping for with Shazam. Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation director David F. Sandberg is at the helm of the DCEU movie, which is due to start filming in early 2018.
The comics character of Doctor Sivana was a respected and brilliant scientist who breaks bad over, well, dumb circumstances. But the overall gist is that in the DC comics, Sivana is the one who deduces boy radio broadcaster Billy Batson as the alter ego of Shazam/Captain Marvel, so he poses a threat to the kid’s real life. That’s likely how he’ll come into play in what will serve as an introductory film in the Shazam franchise.
A Black Adam movie is concurrently in development with Dwayne Johnson playing tha DC Comics character who is most famously known as the main adversary of Shazam. When that crossover or Black Adam movie happens is unclear, but it sounds like Sivana is being teed up as Shazam’s first adversary.
Shazam has no official release date but will likely hit theaters in 2019.
UPDATE: Variety reports that Sandberg has recruited Annabelle: Creation star Grace Fulton to join the cast as one of Batson’s friends. Details of her role are still under wraps.