Zachary Levi on His Future as Shazam After DC Shakeup (Exclusive)

James Gunn and Peter Safran recently took control of the DC Universe.

Zachary Levi is opening up about his DC future. ET's Ash Crossan spoke to the 42-year-old Shazam! Fury of the Gods star, who addressed his franchise's future under DC's new leadership.

James Gunn and Peter Safran were hired as the new co-chairs and co-CEOs of DC Films, a newly formed division at WB. Back in December, The Hollywood Reporter reported the duo's planned shakeup of its existing franchises. Gunn responded on Twitter, writing of the report, "Some of it is true, some of it is half-true, some of it is not true, & some of it we haven’t decided yet whether it's true or not." 

"Listen, I've talked to Peter a good bit, we're gonna talk more on this tour. Certainly, the idea is to continue the character, this world," Levi told ET. "It's a really enjoyable extension of the DCU. It has DNA that a lot of the other characters and extensions don't necessarily have because we are a more family [movie]...  [That] kind of franchise comes with a lot of fun. It's a throwback to... stuff like Goonies and Indiana Jones and all those things that evoke that kind of adventure in you."

Levi added that "the idea is to keep" the Shazam! franchise going, adding that they'll have "a better shot of making more in the future" if audiences turn out to see the new film.

David F. Sandberg, who directed both Shazam! films, also seemed to hint at good things ahead for the franchise, telling ET that there are "a lot more stories you can tell with these kinds of worlds."

"What they've said is that what we've done in these two Shazam movies doesn't contradict anything they're doing with their new plans, which is great," Sandberg said. "It means that you could do Shazam movies if you wanted to. We'll see how that all works out."

For now, though, fans can focus on Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which picks up on Billy (Asher Angel) "three-ish years" after the conclusion of the first film, Levi told ET.

"He was like 14,15, in the first one, now being 17, almost 18 in this one, which is a marked difference for a young man," Levi said. "There's a lot of changes in that time. Specifically, I think that emotionally in the first one he was jaded. He'd been bounced around the foster system and couldn't find a family that he connected to, that loved him, that he wanted to be with. By the end of the movie, he's found that."

Now, Levi said, Billy is "almost 18 years old, he's almost graduating out of the foster care system, and he's really terrified that he's now about to lose a family that he fought so hard [for] and looked so long to find."

"Emotionally, he's very much in that spot. And simultaneously, he is the leader of this super team of his siblings. He has a lot of responsibility there to keep everyone together... but also genuinely trying to live up to his calling," Levi said. "He was chosen to be Earth's mightiest mortal and... and he feels like he's bumbling that and failing that a lot. I think that's the imposter syndrome that we can all kind of relate to and tap into."

There are also new faces joining the fun, including Helen Mirren, whom Levi said was "a dream" to work with.

"Helen is everything you want her to be," Levi said. "She's a Dame, but she doesn't throw it in your face...  She was so there and present and rolling up her sleeves, like, 'How can we go have fun? How can we go do this?' She's everything. She's such an icon."

Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler are also new additions to the cast.

"Helen and Lucy and Rachel are three just fantastic actors and women," Levi said. "[They] just jumped right into the sandbox with us. There was no egos, there was no nothing, just, like, how can we all have fun together? This movie, a lot of it is predicated upon the fun that we're all having together on and off screen, because that gets kind of imbued into the movie itself and hopefully, to the audience."

As for his titular role, Levi told ET that he can't think of a part he'd rather play.

"It's the bee's knees. I love it so much," he gushed. "I definitely tried to hold on to youth in certain childlike qualities in my life as long as I can. Being an actor, you get to kind of do that a little bit, because so much of your job is literally make-believe. It's playing dress up, and using your imagination, and exercising wonder, and all of those things. I just love having fun in general."

And fun it is for Levi, who, at times, still can't believe that he's the one he gets to play this part.

"I can't believe that they see this in me when I can't see it in myself, but that was also a huge part of my own mental health journey," he acknowledged. "That was all this stuff that was going on and me not recognizing that I didn't know how to love myself or value myself, and then once that all clicked and it started to happen all of a sudden was like, 'Boom, boom, boom. Here's these doors that open up... You are worthy, and you can be this titular character of the superhero franchise. I was like, 'Wow. Thank you. God, this is so cool.'"

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is only in theaters March 17.



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