In an interview with Comingsoon.net, director Peter Segal (Grudge Match, Get Smart) took a few minutes to talk about a potential Captain Marvel/Shazam movie project that’s been floating around in the ether for a while now. Segal had been at work on the very early stages of an adaptation, but he says it doesn’t look good for Earth’s Mightiest Mortal to make it to the big screen anytime soon.
After Brian Singer’s Superman Returns, it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day…Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it’s difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman’s resurgence.
— Peter Segal
For those unfamiliar with the character, Captain Marvel was once the most popular superhero in comics, but following a lapse in publication stemming from a DC lawsuit that alleged Fawcett Comics (publisher of Captain Marvel books) had ripped off Superman, Captain Marvel faded in favor of Superman, Batman, and Marvel Comics’ stable of heroes. Despite the misconception that occasionally arises, Captain Marvel was never part of Marvel Comics; in fact, DC completed an acquisition of the character in the early ’90s and has since rebranded him with his magical catchphrase “Shazam!” to avoid that confusion.
It’s Shazam’s marked similarity to Superman that seems to be most inhibiting his translation to the big screen. The public may not be wholly aware of the character, but this hasn’t stopped Marvel, for one. As has been well documented, Iron Man was generally considered a second tier character until the enormous success of the first Iron Man movie propelled him into the public eye. Marvel is venturing deeper into their own stable of heroes (with films like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy) now that their more popular heroes have been established, so perhaps DC will follow that example if Batman vs. Superman, The Flash, and Justice League prove successful.