Plus: Director David Sandberg explains how the 'Shazam!' costume came together

By James Hibberd
July 11, 2018 at 11:28 AM EDT

Ready for an official first look at Zachary Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer in DC’s Shazam! movie?

There have been a few leaked spectator photos from the Toronto set, but below is’s exclusive first image from the actual film that comes out next year:

Credit: Steve Wilkie/© DC Comics

Here we see orphaned 14-year-old Billy Batson, who can transform into a grown-up superhero (Levi, who starred on NBC’s Chuck) with an array of powers by saying the magic word. Billy is shown on a soda run with fellow orphan Freddy Freeman (Grazer, who played the hypochondriac Eddie in It).

To re-design the iconic superhero costume for the big screen, director David Sandberg (Lights Out) took elements from throughout the character’s appearances in comics and animated shows.

“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 tells EW. “It makes him feel a bit more Golden Age superhero, which is the vibe I’m going for.” Yet Shazam also has a hood from DC’s 2011 “New 52” relaunch, a glowing lightning bolt that can appear across his chest and wears the gold gauntlets from one of Shazam’s animated movie appearances.

Levi’s muscular look in the film has been a point of online fandom curiosity. The actor seriously bulked up in the gym to play the role, though like many who have portrayed superheroes in the past also had a bit of help from the suit itself. “I don’t know if [the suit is] crazy big if you look at some of the others — look at Batman,” Sandberg notes.

Here’s Levi, sans suit, showing the result of his hard work:

In the film, Billy (whose younger version is played by Disney Channel star Asher Angel) is assigned to a new foster home where he befriends comic book superfan Freddy. One day, Billy’s subway ride is interrupted by a mysterious Wizard (Djimon Hounsou) whose been searching for ages to find the right successor to inherit his powers. He reveals the teen’s been selected to gain an assortment of abilities, and all it takes is for Billy to say “SHAZAM!”

Shazam! is released April 5, 2019, and represents an entry in an unofficial second stage of DC universe films that includes Aquaman coming Dec. 21.

Though we still haven’t seen a trailer yet for Shazam!, that could change with Comic-Con coming up. Follow @jameshibberd for more DC Entertainment scoop.


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