By James Hibberd
July 10, 2018 at 11:01 AM EDT

DC’s Shazam! movie has found its 3,000-year-old Wizard.

Djimon Hounsou was quietly cast to play the sorcerer who gives young Billy Batson his powers in DC’s Shazam! film coming next year, EW has exclusively learned.

Hounsou also played the Kree mercenary Korath the Pursuer in Guardians of the Galaxy as well as the upcoming Captain Marvel — so he’s pulling off the rare feat of having significant roles in both the Marvel and DC universe at the same time.

Previously, This Is Us actor Ron Cephas Jones was widely reported as likely getting the Shazam! role, but that didn’t end up happening due to a scheduling conflict.

Filming on Shazam! has actually wrapped, but this bit of casting remained under the radar until now. (Comic fans will bemusedly note that Hounsou’s upcoming Captain Marvel was also the original name of the Shazam! comic book before DC changed the name).

Hounsou rose to fame in major roles in films like Amistad and Gladiator, and was previously in another DC title — playing Papa Midnite in 2005’s Constantine.

Shazam! hits theaters April 5, 2019 and follows a 14-year-old (Angel Asher) who gains the power to turn into a grown-up superhero (Zachary Levi) by saying a magic word. In the comics, Honsou’s character is a 3,000 years old sorcerer from Ancient Egypt who uses his powers to fight evil and has been seeking a successor to carry on his mission. He passes his power to Billy who only needs to shout his name — SHAZAM — to instantly become a superhero with an array of powers.

Though we still haven’t seen an official non-leaked photo or trailer yet for the film, that could change with Comic-Con coming up. Follow @jameshibberd for more DC Entertainment scoop.


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